Education News

H.R. 4540 begins to fix problems caused by Social Security’s WEP

Nearly 2 million retired educators and other public employees would benefit from fixes to Social Security’s Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) made by the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act (H.R. 4540), introduced by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) on Sept. 27. Among those subject to the WEP, current retirees would get an extra $150 a month and future retirees an average of $75 a month. Moreover, the bill includes a guarantee that no one would get less than the amount provided under current law. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefits of people who work in jobs covered by Social Security and jobs NOT covered by Social Security over the course of their careers—for example, educators compelled to take part-time or summer jobs to make ends meet. After years of congressional inaction, this bill is a step in the right direction. NEA continues to push for full repeal of the WEP and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) that reduces the Social Security spousal or survivor benefits of people not covered by Social Security themselves.

Tell your representative to support H.R. 4540.

Take Action: Support H.R. 4540 to ensure public employees get the Social Security benefits they have earned

107 responses to “H.R. 4540 begins to fix problems caused by Social Security’s WEP

  1. I am in the same situation as many of the educators above. I worked during high school and college. When I graduated from college, I taught in two school systems in two states that contributed and I paid into Social Security. I then taught in Georgia for 23 years. I also worked a part time job for several years while teaching in Georgia that I contributed to social security. I don’t understand how working for a school district with a relatively low salary rate compared to other local districts, (which was my choice) and then be told that my hard-earned retirement pay is a windfall. My social security has not only been greatly diminished but I’m also not eligible for any Social Security widow’s benefits. My ex-husband (who I was married to for 25 years) was only 58 when he died and never realized any Social Security benefits even though he had paid into the system for over 40 years! The system needs to be fixed.

  2. I worked 35 years in Postal operations. My husband was self employed, paid into Social Security each year out of his own pocket so we would have something on our retirement. He died and I cannot get any of his Social Security because of my Postal Annunity. He paid into the system for 40 years and this is very unfair, trying to make ends meet month after month is not how we planned to live. The system needs to be fixed, it may not benefit me now but for future retirees. Have many educational friends who are not receiving their benefits on retirement, we are in the same situation.

  3. I am a retired school library Media Specialist who has also worked in the public sector and am being penalized. If I had had another position I would be eligible to collect adequate survivors benefits should my husband outlive me. I have enough quarters in to collect SS but I was told I would get almost nothing even though I paid into the social security system. I feel that I should at least get what I paid into it as I earned that salary.

  4. I was scheduled to-get $1750 SS and my teacher pension when I retired. But because I drove myself to get three degrees so I could retire at my highest WEP said my pension was too high to receive the $1750 extra. I was awarded $300 which quickly became $189 after Medicare premiums were deducted. How can this even be legal. I put that money and my question now is what happened to that money. This is a totally punitive manipulation of teachers! I wNt my money!

  5. Please support HR 4540. I didn’t start teaching until I was 35 years old, yet I’d been working and paying in to Social Security since I was 16. I also will lose out on a portion of my husbands Social Security when he dies. It’s not fair and with the present teacher shortage this is the kind of thing that discourages potential teachers from joining the profession.

  6. I did not enter teaching profession until age 50. I began paying into Social Security at age 15. After teaching for 22 years, I have been penalized for being a teacher, as with all teachers In Maine. Curious and sad that Congress would punish some of the lowest paid and most important public servants from total benefits earned over a lifetime of work. A good thing that teaching was such a wonderful and personally rewarding profession. I am proud of what I did. Are you?

  7. My story is the same as all of the above. I worked as a teacher for over 30 years and if something were to happen to my husband, I could not support myself. Please make sure HR 4540 is passed. We earned the money, paid into S.S. and we should not be penalized for teaching! Thank you.

  8. Please consider this the difficult situation all Maine retired teachers are in. We receive only 40 percent of possible earned credits.

  9. Please consider this the difficult situation all Maine retired teachers are in. We receive only 40 percent of possible earned credits.

  10. Please support HR4540. eliminating WEP Is common sense.
    My story is similar to the stories included here. I’m a single, retired middle school teacher with 35 years of teaching experience collecting a well earned pension. I held at least eight jobs beginning at age 14. I also held many other jobs through college and part-time after my full day of teaching. Currently I work part- time scoring essays for teacher licensure in which 12% is deducted for social security. However, I’m collecting only $63.00 from SS after Medicare premium is deducted. Because I am collecting a state pension I’m penalized from collecting my full social security benefit.
    At 72 years old the SS benefit which I earned would bridge the gap between rising expenses and my pension. WEP is and always was an unfair decision. WEP also prevents me from collecting half of my former husband’s SS. Thank you for working to change this gross inequity.

  11. This has been a burden for my wife and I. I worked two jobs and served in the Air Force Reserve and the Army National guard to make ends meet. This law was an insult and HR141 and S521 should be passed.

  12. Before moving to Massachusetts, I worked full time and contributed as a full time worker to Social Security for 28 years, mostly as a teacher in Maryland. Maryland does not have a contributory pension system, as is true with other states as well. I will retire after teaching for 44 years and only receive credit for 21 years in my Massachusetts pension, which will be about 55 %. My social security is significantly reduced because of the Windfall Act. This is just plain unfair. This act also discourages people from entering the teaching profession mid-career. Recent studies have reported that a shortage of teachers is occurring, or about to occur, in states across the country, including Massachusetts. In addition, for a variety of reasons, teachers do not always stay in the same state for their full career.

  13. This isn’t enough. It’s something, but we are MORE than that! My husband died and our monthly income was cut in half because I was a teacher and could not get his So. Sec. benefits. It’s tough going on your state retirement unless you have other funds to help you. I’ve had to dip into savings to keep up. Not good.

  14. I spent 31 years as a firefighter and now draw a state administered pension. This excludes me from receiving my own as well as spousal Social Security. I had to work a second job as well as being a firefighter to support my wife and three children.

  15. After 19 years in the corporate world I became an educator. I should not be penalized for giving back to my community!

  16. Every person who has a spouse is entitled to the spouses social security benefits after their death in order for them to continue to live and pay their bills “except” teachers and some public workers. This is what the GPO law does to public servants. I’m not sure who disliked public servants and made this law, but shame on them. Revoke the GPO and WEP entirely not what this new law is stating. I guess it’s a beginning, but these laws are unjust and a case should be taken to the Supreme Court soon.

    1. My husband died in August and I find myself in this awful position. I am a retired paraprofessional so my pension is obviously MUCH smaller than teachers and I will only be receiving a very small amount of spousal SS. This is not fair!

    2. I have been working as a teacher for 25 years. My husband died almost 3 years ago after a long difficult battle with a brain disease which required most of our savings to be spent. We had no idea until after his death that I would not be receiving his Social Security benefits. The hardship that the GPO has imposed is unthinkable! Most people who don’t know about it can’t believe that it’s true. There is a complete disregard and lack of appreciation and loyalty toward teachers, the foundation of everyone’s success in life. I feel punished.

  17. I am in the same situation as many of the educators above. I worked during high school and college. When I graduated from college, I taught in private schools for 7 years, not even considering my retirement years. (Catholic school teachers had no pension plan other than Social Security.) I then taught students in public schools for 32 years. I don’t understand how working for a school district with a relatively low salary rate compared to other local districts, (that was my choice,) and then be told that my hard-earned retirement pay is a windfall. I also have a spouse who was a teacher and as mentioned by an individual above, I will receive none of his social security benefits nor a death benefit. I don’t think educators who have already chosen to enter a relatively low-paying profession, should essentially be punished by not receiving a Social Security payment in line with the contributions they made or the deductions that were paid to Social Security in their behalf.

  18. Please support H.R 4540 to allow teachers to draw their hard earned money that they paid into Social Security. I worked 8 full years that would have qualified for almost $800.00 of Soc. Sec. payments a month and I can only get less than half of that. I also cannot get any of my husband’s Social Security if something were to happen to him, but he can get my teacher retirement for 10 years after I retired, if I were to pass before him. It is not right to have to different standards.

    1. I am in the same boat. Husbands should not be able to spousal retirement benefits if we cannot get their social security.

  19. It is imperative that we get HR 4540 passed. I am a retired bus operator who has lost 2/3 of my social security since my retirement.
    In most cases all bus operators must work two jobs to make ends meet just for social security to take 2/3 away when they retire from a governmental job.
    If their spouse passes away they will also lose most of their windows benefits which means they can’t survive without government assistance.
    Please help us by getting H.R. 4540 passed.

  20. My social security has not only been diminished but I’m not eligible for my husband’s SS benefits. He died when he was only 56 and never realized any SS benefits even though he had paid into the system for almost 40 years! The system needs to be fixed.

  21. I worked 31 years in public education and now continue to work in order to cover health and cost of living expenses. I continue to pay into Social Security but will receive only a fraction of what I have contributed! I continue to hope for a change in the WEP so that I can receive more than a fraction of what I continue to pay into social security!

  22. Both my wife and I are impacted by WEP. I was a teacher for 35 years and my wife worked as a media center secretary for 10 years. During our careers while working in the public sector we both had jobs paying into Social Security. We both paid into the system for over 50 years, and the the amount we each get is less the a third of what we would normally receive. If I predecease she will have to live on less the 600.00 per month. It is time to pass this much needed bill.

  23. I worked for over 20 years and paid into Social Security before I went into education, but will never see that money unless this bill is passed. I only see $78 a month from Social Security because of that. Please take this into consideration as you consider the passage of this bill.

  24. I receive half of the social security benefits I earned over the first half of my career only because I chose to teach in California for the last twenty years of my career. Equally surprising to me It is my understanding that my spouse, should he ever need to collect survivor benefits on my work record, would receive the full amount I earned. Am I wrong about this?

  25. If not now, when? Individuals who have worked and paid into social security are entitled to receive their benefits for that work. Isn’t this a simple matter of what’s right and fair?

    ” Support the legislation that will enable this group of people to continue to engage in society not become a burden.”

  26. It would be nice if we could get HR 4540 passed. I’m one of those teachers who collect less than half of their own social security. It’s not fair for those of us who live in one of the 13 states that penalize us for being a teacher when we have worked, paid into social security and earned our 40 quarters not to be able to collect our full social security.

  27. As a retired educator whose social security was cut by almost 50% I think it is time
    that this injustice be corrected…and yes, I did contribute to social security as well as
    to my educator retirement fund.

  28. Former marine, farm worker, Title I teacher, rehabilitation counselor, self-employed paying 12% into SS and now i am receiving $700.00 per month because I was a teacher.

      1. You should apply for Medicaid in your state to pay for your Medicare. Contact your state SHIP office or Center for Health Care Rights.

  29. I worked 18 years in jobs that contributed to SS. Then I moved to Nevada & worked 16 years in education field. But because of these 16 years my SS amount was reduced by close to 40%. This is money I contributed yet because of my living in NV I do not get the full amount…..totally unfair! Please repeal WEP and GPO!

  30. Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) is just plain unfair–at least to teachers. While I am making a decent retirement, it certainly is NOT a “windfall.” I have had two jobs for 40 years to help make ends meet for my family. We don’t live in poverty, but certainly are not wealthy. I think this “Windfall” program was set up for politicians–so they would not take home too much money. Did the leaders of Congress “sneak” it past the voters. Sure, I take home a bit more than the average retired person, but I worked hard as a teacher to ensure that I would get a decent retirement. Keep fighting for us “little” guys. Thanks!

  31. Long overdue! Repeal WEP and GPO. Why did this outrage ever happen in the first place. I have 15 years in the MO public school system and much more teaching and business work in the public sector. I have worked since I was 18. I can’t understand all this legalese as it is all so convoluted. I don’t know how to plan for my future or lack of it. I cannot see how it was ever considered unfair that these pensions were a windfall for deserving people.

  32. I was amazed that anyone would think teachers and/or scientists ever had a windfall from social security. I have been both a teacher and a scientist and I am anything but rich.

  33. I am a single divorced retired teacher. I retired at 66 years with only 11 service years. The penalty of WEP and GPO has has reduced my pension so that I would of actually been better off with just Social Security. The HR 4530 definitely needs to be removed or adjusted.

  34. I had two separate phases of my work life: public school teacher and worker in the private sector.

    My Connecticut teacher’s retirement amount reflects the number of years I served as a teacher. This is fair and just.

    My social security retirement amount, for the number of years I paid into the social security fund, is severely (and unfairly) reduced. This is an injustice that the passage of H. R. 4540 will correct. Please support it.

    1. Passing WEP weakened the security of millions of Americans who were diligent in paying into the social system of a so called Social Security. It is ironic that the teacher who teach students about history, economics, fairness, justice, equality, etc. should unfairly suffer their loss of what they contributed for the greater good of all. But alas, it is the lesser for some to preserve the longer benefit of the many. An unnecessary betrayal of those who change so many lives for the better. Thanks all for the efforts to begin to right this wrong for so long, for so many.

  35. I am sick and tired of being labeled an “entitled” person because I paid into Social Security for 45 years (without any choice in the matter) and then came to teaching later in life. I worked consistently from the age of 15 and am in no way any kind of burden on the system. Social Security was promised as a return on investment. I paid in long enough that I don’t have a piece yanked away because I now teach. Those who have suffered that effect have suffered it unfairly. Social Security and teacher retirement benefits are both earned through years of service. Social Security has been endangered by Congress. Properly managed instead of being treated as a Congressional slush fund, Social Security will live up to its promise. Right now it is just a mislabeled tax that Congress plays with without regard to the consequences to the elderly who earned their benefits. All while Congress members leave office with lifetime gold-plated medical care and no financial worries.

  36. H.R. 4540. I have worked my entire life, contributing to the future of this country by educating public school students. I would like to begin the second half of my life living in the decency of that choice. Support the legislation that will enable this group of people to continue to engage in society not become a burden.

  37. It certainly is not “double dipping”. I paid into Social Security since I was 14 years old, working in the private sector. At age 50, I became a public school teacher. I will only receive a teacher’s pension for the number of years worked, and will not be allowed to collect my full social security. I’ve had two different careers. Why should I be penalized for this?
    Massachusetts is great at handing out money for social services. It should also allow teachers to collect the SS that they have paid into.
    Please support HR 141 and S 521

    1. Barbara, you should fall under the 30 years of credible earnings with SS and, therefore, be able to draw your entire SS income.

  38. It’s shameless that common sense cannot be written into laws and even worse when public employees who put their blood sweat and tears into the hearts and minds of others cannot retain what they’ve paid into and deserve.

  39. How this law ever saw the light of day is beyond comprehension. Please continue to support H.R. 4540 to ensure all public employees received the benefits they have worked so hard to receive. We deserve to be treated fairly. Thank you for your help and please work with all your constituents in the House to past H.R. 4540

  40. There is NO good reason to reduce the monthly payment of Social Security for anyone
    of our citizens who worked all their lives at professions, productive corporate, or any
    other work for gain. Stop penalizing Social Security recipients!

  41. This is a total misjustice to many public employees .WEP . The logic of wEP is flawed , the majority of the people affected never made a lot of money and had to work other jobs and payed into S.S. . And because of their public employment what they payed into had no return . This should be stopped ,it was wrong from the beginning .

  42. Please continue to support H.R. 4540 to ensure all public employees received the health benefits they have worked so hard to receive. They deserve to be treated fairly as they did work hard to earn every penny during their terms of service. Thank you for your help and please work with all your constituents in the House to past H.R. 4540.

    1. I have 70 quarters towards Social Security. My SS was reduced by 75%.
      I paid into Social Security and should not be discriminated against.

  43. The state of Kentucky as well penalizes educators. A teacher in the district where I worked
    retired to care for a dying spouse. His social security were immediately stopped upon his death and she received no death benefits. Now only did she almost lose her home, she had to return to teaching to make ends meet. She retired with over 27 years of teaching experience, and could not live off her retirement benefits, securely. If she had been in any other occupation, she would have been able to receive his death benefits. They were married over 30 some years, and he had no way to ensure some financial support for her due to government red tape.
    What a shameful way to treat those who educate our country’s young people.

    1. Please consider that this money was earned and should be a benefit for us
      Also I should be eligible for my husbands social security benefit should I outlive him!!!

      1. I taught school for 25 years. My husband died in 2009. I retired in 2012. Because of these laws, I am penalized for my survivor benefits. Twice a year I have to show SS what I draw on my teacher’s retirement plan and they keep deducting more money from my survivor benefits. My husband earned that money and I should not be penalized because I taught school.

    2. This is years long overdue. So many of our retirees especially women have been penalized by these two bills. We earned this money and this needs to be returned when your on a fixed income. Please get this done. We owe our educators our support in retirement years.

  44. TOTAL REPEALS are needed for WEP and GOVERNMENT PENSION OFFSET…for Teachers who live in KS and work in MO. I have earned $850 per month/my deceased husband would get $2,000 per month…….for our Social Security at FRA. But because I teach impoverished kids READING in a Title 1 Missouri School (been there for 28 years)……I will only get $400 on my own record and NO…..SURVIVOR BENEFIT. That means…..the GOVERNMENT GETS TO KEEP…….$2,400……….OF MY EARNED MONIES. WHY CAN’T I HAVE MY HARD-EARNED BENEFITS ??? OR….AT LEAST….HALF OF IT?????? I’M SO ASHAMED OF OUR GOVERNMENT ! SUPPORT: HR 141 AND S 521.

    1. I became disabled many years ago. When I kept filling out more & more forms for the head of social security for over 5 1/2 years. I also showed him the papers I brought in with me. He kept sating that I had never worked. After doing this for 5 1/2 years. He finally agreed that I had worked full time over 47 years, but he said that I would NEVER get any money for my disabilities. He kept all my records under his desk. Then, my late husband died of a heart attack the first week of January, 2017. My former doctors had me locked up most of 2017 in hospitals where I was forced to take dangerous drugs (instead of my regular medications for blood pressure, etc.I was tortured & beaten.

    2. Pass HR 4540. Our teachers are being cheated out of benefits they earned. It’s past time to change the law and give teachers the retirement support they worked for.

    3. My late husband was getting $2,200 in Sicual Security benefits. He passed away and because Of GPO and me being a retired teacher, it was reduced to $400. I teaching was not my first career so I contributed many years to SS but when I started working in the late 60’s my wages were not enough to qualify as part of my quarters. That was the minimum wage then! It’s a shame! Something needs to be done.

      1. I am the widow of a man who worked in industry for 16 years and then entered the teaching profession in Maine. He was unable to receive his full Social Security benefits even though he paid in during his high school, college years, and professional life.

        I live on my own pension. I too am unable to draw my earned Social Security benefits or receive my husband’s. The Windfall Profits is a travesty. How many of the Senators and Representatives can and do draw from more than one pension. All of our elected officials should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to continue.

        I for one would use the money to do repairs on my home, buy an more late model car, actually go to a movie or play. The money would be poured back into the economy, not hidden away in a bank account. As such the money would help to keep the economy vibrant.

        1. I taught for 40 years. I spent the first 10 years adding certifications and degrees to my name. I decided to take 1 year to determine my future directions. During that year I took a part time job in the public sector. I was fortunate enough to find one that would flex with me when I needed to go to required workshops and classes. I have now retired from teachung, but I can’t enjoy my “retirement ” I still work 5 days a week. The money I paid into social security would make a difference in my life.

          1. I work 19 years as a teacher assistant and I’m eligible for retirement I’m 68 but looking into it I would only get around $800 and my social security is about 890 and I will be penalized that would be not enough money to live on I’m single I’m waiting for the windfall elimination hope that come soon

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