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Talking Points

The Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) penalize people who have dedicated their lives to public service by taking away benefits they have EARNED.

  • Nine out of 10 public employees affected by the GPO lose their entire spousal benefit, even though their spouse paid Social Security taxes for many years.
  • The WEP causes hard-working people to lose a significant portion of the benefits they earned themselves.

This is an education issue -- the GPO and WEP impact student learning by discouraging talented people from entering or staying in the education profession.

  • Individuals who worked in other careers are less likely to want to become educators if doing so will mean a loss of earned Social Security benefits. The GPO and WEP are also causing current educators to leave the profession, and students to choose courses of study other than education.
  • Non-Social Security states  are finding it increasingly difficult to attract quality educators as more folks learn about the GPO and WEP.
  • The GPO and WEP will particularly hinder efforts to recruit new math and science teachers from the private sector.

States in Which Public Employees Are Not Covered by Social Security

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia (certain local governments)
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky (certain local governments)
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island (certain local governments)
  • Texas

This is a national problem.

  • Because people move from state to state, there are affected individuals everywhere.
  • The number of people impacted continues to grow as more people reach retirement age.

The loss of income forces some people into poverty.

  • Some 300,000 individuals lose an average of $3,600 a year due to the GPO -- an amount that can make the difference between self-sufficiency and poverty.
  • Impacted people have less money to spend in their local economy.

The GPO and WEP hurt many public employees, including educators, police officers, and firefighters.

  • We should respect, not penalize, public service employees.

Voters care about this issue.

  • Public employees are watching how members of Congress act on issues like this.

Congress must take immediate action.

  • Congress should pass the Social Security Fairness Act,  which would completely repeal the GPO and WEP.
  • This legislation has overwhelming bipartisan support but has been languishing in committee for years. We cannot afford to wait any longer. The time to act is now!

Repeal Social Security Offsets Toolkit

Talking Points

Fact Sheet for Congressional Offices  (PDF)

Sample Postcard Messages

Sample Letters to the Editor

Sample Press Release


Sample Resolution for State Legislatures


Lobbying Members of Congress


Working with the Media

Frequently Asked Questions

Tell Your Story Form  (PDF)

Report Back Form (PDF)