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Support H.R. 4540 to address Social Security inequities

Forty-three members of the House from both sides of the aisle are cosponsoring the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act (H.R. 4540), which begins to address inequities for nearly 2 million retired educators and other public employees subject to Social Security’s Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). Among those subject to the WEP, current retirees would get an extra $150 a month and future retirees an extra $75 a month on average. 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

52 responses to “Support H.R. 4540 to address Social Security inequities

  1. Every year, every year…..this comes up and goes nowhere. Politicians promising lies. Maybe its time for new legislators? Perhaps a few less socialists?

  2. I am not sure, but do those impacted by the existing laws understand that you are still entitled to some of the SocSec benefit they earned. Without getting into the what is fair morass, I know many people in the teaching world who think they are entitled to zip. That is not the case. It is sad to hear people say they went into teaching thinking there was a reasonable pension available and there would be no adverse impact to SocSec payments. Due diligence is warranted and apparently not being done.

    Moving forward, perhaps the answer is get rid of the existing pensions system, establish matching 403b programs and so forth. More people involved in market based returns would be good for the nation overall.

  3. A spouse can collect 1/2 the Social Security (money they did not contribute to the system themselves) their partner is entitled to while the partner collects the whole amount. Together they get 1 and 1/2 pensions based on one person’s contribution, yet I cannot collect what I put into the system. This is patently unfair. It locks people into jobs that they cannot leave because they cannot leave the retirement system they are in. Also, if they lose their jobs with a teacher’s pension, it is better for them to work under the table and not pay into a system that does not benefit them. Supremely unfair for teachers.

  4. My wife and myself have been hit by this unfair law. We have both been retired from the working in education. and receive very little from Social security. We have been retired almost 20 years and It appears we will not be here long enough to collect what we deserve.

  5. This law really effects me. I didn’t start teaching until my 40s. I contributed to Social Security from 1962 till now, but I only receive half of what I should get and because I was a late starting teacher my pension is reduced also. Please stop this unfair law.

    1. If you earned a reasonable wage in that many years you should have earned enough credit to not lose any SocSec. 120 quarters should get you full benefit. What are you not saying here?

  6. I am a widow and will collect very little survivor benefits because I have a state pension. My husband earned that benefit and yet I will receive very little of it due to WEP. I taught for over 25 years in a city school.

  7. I tried my entire teaching career, 36 years to pay into Social Security but I was not allowed to because Illinois is a state that didn’t vote to give public state workers Social Security or Medicare benefits. Please make this possible for 21st century teachers.

  8. Elimination of these laws and equity for all for their hardwork is long overdue in my opinion.
    Because we are willing and some case have had to work both in and out of the public section we and/or our spouses/survivors should not be penalized.
    I believe given they are two separate systems we are entitled to the same, full benefits available contributions to the SS system offer others.
    Thank you for your work on this initiative.

  9. I am a widowed retired educator who does not receive the normal spousal benefits my husband earned because of the GPO. The reversal of the GPO would restore the fairness of social security to widows who most need it.

  10. Don’t vote for this one. Vote for JHR141 that has 206 Cosponsors in the House that would TOTALLY repeat the W.E.P. AND G.O.P, (Government Offset Program!!!

    1. 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. But we also support this bill as well, which repeals WEP only. We encourage you to look at the Retirement Security page (https://educationvotes.nea.org/issue/retirement-security/?kiosk=true#actions) and send an email to your representative asking that they support S 521 and HR 141 in addition to this bill.
      NEA Government Relations Department

  11. I should get what I had ALREADY earned BEFORE I came to teach in Missouri!! I was not living in Missouri when they voted to adopt WEP/GPO. NO ONE told me about the consequences of WEP/GPO – not Social Security Administration, nor the federal government’s Department of Education, nor the Missouri State Department of Education, nor the school district when they hired me. It was not until I got my first Missouri teacher paycheck – when I saw they were not taking out Social Security – I was told Social Security was not taken out because we have such a great pension plan – they did not tell me even then about WEP/GPO. I am not asking to receive Social Security benefits on my earnings in Missouri for which I did NOT pay social security on – but I am wanting ALL of my Social Security benefits for the earnings I paid my Social Security on in the States of Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma – which did not participate in WEP/GPO!! My social security benefits I earned BEFORE coming to teach in Missouri should be “grandfathered” in – NOT subject to WEP/GPO. When I retired in Missouri in 2015 – I found out instead of getting the $1,785.00 Social Security benefits that I RIGHTLY paid for and earned BEFORE coming to Missouri was not going to be paid to me – instead they are paying me only $760.00!! THEY HAVE STOLEN MY SOCIAL SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS!! What is even more strange – my husband was able to draw social security benefits on MY earnings outside of Missouri – but I could NOT drawn social security benefits on my own non-Missouri earnings. This is discrimination – a marriage penalty!! Another “slap in the face” with WEP/GPO – the non-certified personnel in the Missouri school district where I taught 22 of my 40 years of teaching – they are NOT bound by the effects of WEP/GPO – they were allowed to pay into social security on their Missouri earnings – I was not allowed to – yet the non-certified personnel were working in the Missouri education field just as I had been. Another discrimination!! My research revealed WEP/GPO was passed during President Jimmy Carter’s administration – because there had been a federal budget shortfall. What a shame public employees must carry this burden.

  12. It is extremely unfair to be penalized for having worked and contributed to Social Security. If I contributed then I should receive my benefits. I am not going to be rich from those benefits! It is just going to help me make ends meet. What kind of plan is this and who benefits from it?

  13. Those of us who have earned their 40 credits for Social Security should be able to collect their whole benefit. This law is so unfair. I don’t know what the 13 or 13 states that voted for this were thinking. Terrible idea!

  14. Perhaps someone can answer the following question for me, because I honestly don’t know. Is Congress subject to the WEP? Can they receive Social Security benefits in addition to their generous pensions? If I’m not mistaken, they also receive medical insurance–for life.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  15. Every year I delay retiring because of a small pension I receive from another state. Every year with overwhelming and rapidly progressing medical bills I still delay. Why? Because the federal government will take 40% of my s.d. away AND all of the pension
    .

    Special Education Professional

  16. I have fought this onerous law for over 18 years to no avail!!!!! Keep fighting! I am 83 and hope to see it repealed before I die!!!!

  17. I retired as an educator after about half (16 years) of a standard educator career. Before that, for 28 years I worked at jobs that paid into social security. My state pension is not enough to live on, and my social security income has been reduced by approximately $350 per month due to the WEP. I am 71 years old and have had to work (Uber driver) to make ends meet. This job will end soon due to my advancing macular degeneration. Not sure what to do at that point. My full social security benefit would sure help.

    1. If you have 28 years of substantial contribution to SocSEc, you are entitled to something llike 90% of your benefit. Hopefully you are aware of that provision.

  18. I taught 36 years in Maryland. When I retired at 63, I felt like I had to move to Virginia to save money. I am NOT asking for the moon but to live without being worried all the time on bill paying. I have worked hard my whole teaching career. Remember us as you vote. Support teachers…..please…..my mom used to say….If yoy say please and say it nicely people will be nice in return….

  19. I held two jobs almost every semester I taught in the state of Missouri s a single person.

    When I applied for Social Security in 2005, I was stunned at the little I received because I was a Missouri teacher for thirty-four years. I thought then: “I will die before this unfair law is ever corrected.” I may have been right.

  20. Please support efforts to end the Windfall Elimination Provision. Both my husband and I have paid into social security and should be able to get our full benefit from it.

  21. This bill makes it possible for professionals to both enter teaching but also to leave it when they need a respite from the constant demands. The current system punishes people for changing their paths and makes public service job impossible to leave.

  22. Pass this bill! We should not be penalized for working two jobs over our lifetime. My quarters are paid up, I’m retired and working a part time job and still paying into Social Security. I and all of us should get what we are entitled to!!!

  23. Dear Mr. Heck
    First, I hope you actually read this…second, THANK
    YOU for your ongoing committee work. The road to impeachment has been long (yes, I know this comment slot is supposed to be about HB4540)
    I live in Olympia Wa-taught 33 years in a beautiful 3 story historic elementary school 3 blocks from the WA capital. I am a better human as a result of my work with children and their families…teachers do not go into the field to get rich…I have 2 graduate degrees and never made more than 70 thousand $ gross a year! I own my home, have two children and have a wife. I retired 3 years ago and now supplement a “sckosh” by tutoring. It would be helpful to have a more
    income…please support and work for the passage of HB4540…along with, and more importantly the outing of a man who is not worthy to sit in ANY office, let alone the Oval Office.
    You speak well, are articulate and I
    hope to see more
    of you on MSNBC..
    Martha Manley
    Oly, WA

    1. Martha, I encourage you to go back to the top of this page and fill out the ‘Take Action’ section so your email can go directly to Representative Heck instead of in the comment section for this story.
      NEA Govt Relations Department

  24. Public employees should not be punished because they they obtained a job that happens to have a pension. They paid into Social Security with jobs they had before their public employment and many paid into Social Security taking part time jobs or when they left the public employment.

    Those who should be punished are those who are getting three or more pensions such as Mayor R. Daley.

  25. I am deeply affected by the WEP. I worked for the benefit and expected to receive it. When I moved to Ohio, everything changed. It is outright theft. I worked for it.

    Please overturn the WEP. It isn’t a windfall or free money, public employees earned it.

    Thank you,

    M. Wyatt

  26. I worked 30 years in the Private sector, went to work for local city government and now that I’m retired I’ve lost $300 a month from my Social Security. I didn’t know at the time I switched to a government job this would happen. Those with private pensions are not effected, this is very unfair to government workers! Please change this law!

  27. I have been advocating for this for 20 years. Not everyone in education has spent their entire career in the field. Many related service employees have worked in the private sector before entering the field of education, myself included. I earned my social security benefits. I will probably not have enough years in the education pension system in order to receive the full pension amount. I am only asking to receive the FULL benefits that I have contributed to during my career. This will still not amount to a “windfall “ but will allow me to retire and be able to pay my bills.

  28. I have always had a job since I was 15 years old. My first one was working for A&W. Before I started teaching I worked at a factory for 14 years. The factory shut down so I went back to school to become a teacher. These past 22years I’ve been a teacher, I have also had a part-time job working as a manager at Sonic drive-in. I have paid into social security all of my life working life. It is only fair that when it is my turn to draw social security that I should receive full benefits.. Yes, I am a teacher and I will draw rom their retirement system, but I have also been a worker who has paid in social security benefits for last 40plus years. I should be able to get my benefits from social security as well!

  29. Dear Sirs:
    President Reagan himself said in his memoires that he regretted creating the Windfall Provisions Act (WEP). Many hold the view that the money that would have gone to the policemen, firefighters and teachers was taken away and given to welfare. I was one of those people who worked for over ten years and earned the required 40 Social Security credits, only to be robbed of that time when I became a teacher for 30 years.
    Please set this right with the little time that is left for those who were really hurt by the WEP. Thank you.
    Sincerely, June Raleigh

  30. I paid into FICA (did the work and contributed my share) in various positions outside of government so I should receive standard SS benefits based on same.

  31. Dear Rep. Schakowsky,

    Thank you for all you do to help move this country in a better direction. It is truly appreciated. You’re a rock star! Representative, I am one of those affected by both WEP and GPO provisions of the Social Security Act. I am a nurse and previously worked in the private sector earning the quarters required. I then switched to the public sector working as a school nurse. At that time, school districts were not required to inform an employee of the WEP/GPO provision. Had I known,I may have made a different decision. I feel I earned my social security benefit and should not be penalized because I chose to work in a school setting instead of a hospital. Should anything happen to my husband, I would be penalized again and not be his beneficiary. Can someone convince me that this is justified? How can an ex spouse receive social security benefits after 10 years of marriage from the former spouse but I can not? Thanks for any help you can provide to remedy this unfair social security rule.

    1. Noel, I encourage you to go back to the top of this page and fill out the ‘Take Action’ section so your email can go directly to Rep. Schakowsky instead of in the comment section for this story.
      NEA Govt Relations Department

  32. It is about time that the unfairness of WEP gets repealed. It was never about double dipping, especially since many of us contributed to social security in our non-education jobs.

  33. Before becoming a teacher, I worked at various jobs. I worked as a
    waitress at various restaurants, at a local A&P supermarket and as a camp counselor. During my first few years as a teacher, I also worked (again as a
    waitress) part time at night to pay back my student loans. All those
    years, I paid into social security and have reached enough credits. I
    feel cheated knowing I won’t get all the social security I paid into all
    those years.

    As a single person, I will only have my teacher pension with which to
    retire. At that point, I intend to take a job in retirement and would
    be, ironically, required to pay social security. Where would that money
    be going? If this law does not change, it is money (I paid in) that I
    will never see.

    I urge you to cosponsor the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act (H.R. 4540), which begins to address inequities for nearly 2 million retired educators and other public employees subject to Social Security’s Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

    I have dedicated more than half of my life to public service and feel
    cheated by this act. I helped my government and now it won’t help me.

    Social Security belongs to teachers as much as it belongs to private
    sector workers.

    Other states are allowing teachers to collect social security, while our
    state is not.

    I urge you to support the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act (H.R. 4540).

    Please help all of us that have helped children.

    Thank you
    Adele Gali
    Mathematics and Italian Teacher
    Rocky Hill High School

    1. Adele, I encourage you to go back to the top of this page and fill out the ‘Take Action’ section so your email can go directly to your member of Congress instead of in the comment section for this story.
      NEA Govt Relations Department

  34. My SSA retirement benefits should NOT be reduced by other government pensions (foreign or domestic) that I have legally worked hard to qualify for.

  35. As an educator that had a 20 year career in the private sector before becoming a teacher, I find the Social Security penalties heartbreaking. I did the work and made these contributions from my earned wages. Why should I not have access to my money?

  36. In all actually both the WEP and the GPO should be eliminated entirely. These were democratic initiatives, pushed through democratic congresses, and affect mainly firemen, police personnel, and teachers. Those of us who came to teaching from long previous careers are encouraged to teach, to share our experience and life skills with American youth. What is not mentioned is that you will be punished severely for doing so with these two initiatives, I myself lost approximately 62% of my SSA benefits. Members of Congress receive, when I last checked, $168,000 a year for life at retirement age, even if they only served for one term. Seems to be a bit of inequity here, wouldn’t you say? Seems NEA’s efforts should be to have both these provisions eliminated entirely, an extra $75 a month is not going to do me much good when they have take away nearly $1100.00/month!!!

  37. In 2000 I became a public school teacher at the age 42. I began paying into social security in 1958 at the age of 6 months (as a child model in NYC) and I worked during and after college for decades paying my share into the system. Why should I not be allowed my full benefits from money earned PRIOR to my teaching career?

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