The GPO/WEP law which is currently on the books adversely impacts many retired educators in the states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas.
GPO/WEP affects retirees when two or more pensions have been earned by a person or a person and his/her spouse from any two of three systems. The three systems are Federal Government workers retirement (this includes military), Social Security retirement and a non-Social Security retirement system (usually a state system with no Social Security involvement). Spousal benefits can be reduced considerably when two earned retirement systems are involved. An example is someone who has a monthly $600 pension from a government job and is eligible for $500 a month widow’s benefit from Social Security. Two thirds of the Social Security widow’s benefit will be subtracted and the person will only get $100 spousal benefit. At the time when this legislation was passed it referred to the dual pension benefits as “double dipping.” In fact many retirees who are affected were not getting a large retirement income due to either having worked at a low paying job or having worked for a relatively short period of time in one or both jobs. Women are most likely to be impacted by these laws because they didn’t work when their children were young.
The current bill in Congress (H. R. 711) is supposed to help with the monetary losses currently experienced by some retirees by causing the pensions of other retirees previously unaffected to be reduced in order to make up for the lost revenue from those currently subject to GPO/WEP. Retirees most likely to be affected are educators, military retirees, policemen and firemen. The law currently proposed is problematic and would cause financial hardship for even more retirees. The objections to this bill are !)It does not address the Government Pension Offset (GPS at all. 2) It will widen the impact of WEP so more individuals are impacted. 3) It eliminates the exemption from GPO.WEP for those with 30 years or more in the system. And 4) It would pay for enforcement of GPO by reducing pensions of retirees previously unaffected. Passage of the bill could result in over 10 times more people losing some benefits compared to those who would gain benefits.
For over a decade SFCRTA and ARTC, along with DKG and the U.S. Forum, have strongly supported the Social Security Fairness Act. The current version of the Social Security Fairness Act of 2015 (S. 1651/H.R. 973), which would fully repeal the GPO and WEP.
To let your congressional representatives know how you feel about these bills, either call toll free through the Congressional Switchboard (1-866-327-8670) and ask for your Senator and Representative or email them by going to www.Congress.gov and clicking on “members” at the top of the screen. If you are in one of the states listed above, it is to your advantage to find out how your retirement income and that of your spouse will be affected by these laws which were passed in the mid 1980s.
GPO/WEP Explanation – For a more detailed explanation of GPO and WEP, you can go to