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Letter to the Finance Committee on a Provision in the Economic Recovery Bill that Impacts for Retirees, Disabled Veterans, and SSI Recipients

January 26, 2009

Dear Senator:

As a follow-up to our earlier letter supporting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, we would like to call your attention to one provision of great concern that we hope the Committee will address at tomorrow’s mark-up. Specifically, we are deeply concerned that the proposed payment for retirees, disabled veterans, and SSI recipients does not apply to recipients of public pensions who worked in jobs not covered by Social Security. This is an extremely important issue for many NEA members and we urge you to fix it before moving the bill forward.

We appreciate the Chairman’s inclusion of a one-time $300 benefit for retired Americans. However, the bill as currently written excludes approximately twenty-five percent of all state and local government workers-- including teachers, police, firefighters, and many others. These dedicated public servants are not covered by Social Security because they participate in a public pension program.

Excluding these public pensioners from the $300 payment is highly unfair. Teachers and other public employees have spent their lives serving their communities and deserve to receive the same payment as other retirees.

We look forward to working with the Committee to rectify this troubling situation by ensuring that all retirees can receive the $300 payment, including those who do not receive Social Security.


Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager, Federal Advocacy