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Tell Congress to repeal unfair Social Security penalties NOW

The coronavirus is a double whammy for retirees, threatening to ruin both their health and finances—especially those subject to unfair Social Security penalties who are already struggling to make ends meet. Some 2.5 million people dedicated to public service, including many educators, have their Social Security benefits reduced—or lose them entirely—due to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). The Social Security Fairness Act (S. 521/H.R. 141) repeals both the GPO and WEP.


Email your representatives and tell them to make it part of the coronavirus legislative package.

137 responses to “Tell Congress to repeal unfair Social Security penalties NOW

  1. What a sad state of affairs we are in! I feel punished for giving over 43 years of my life to educate our young. Retired, I am barely making ends meet and therefore, it is imperative that Social Security penalties be removed. Is there a possibility that we can live out the rest of our lives in dignity?

  2. I earned my 40 quarters and then worked 20 years as a college instructor in CA. Upon retirement , I was astounded to learn about the unknown WEP & GPO. My SS pension in 30% of what it should be. The haphazard and ill considered legislation went into effect approximately my first year of teaching. Both my employer & Social Security Admin. did virtually nothing to inform workers.

  3. GPO/WEP hurts first responders, educators and many second career civil servant Americans who find themselves being punished after their careers contributing to or protecting their communities.
    I have a twenty year law enforcement career and a twenty three year career in the steel industry. I feel sorely let down by Washington’s lack of action. I find it disgusting to hear politicians speaking about the barbaric acts directed against law enforcement or the lectures about education reform and the hard work of our educators only to see these laws still in place.

  4. I just want to understand why so many others get their SS on top of their retirement funds but nooooo, not us! We paid to be educated, got paid a low income while educating, sharing our experiences, & paying for student & classroom supplies but we get treated with little respect or worth! Does it mean nothing that we impacted so many different generations of future workers/citizens? I am so disappointed in how our state & federal government has taken advantage of our choice of career!

  5. I get $370 a month even though I worked 17 yrs in NJ before moving to ME. Because I retired from a state employees group that does not belong to SS my SS for NJ work is cut by 2/3. If my husband predeceases me and his SS goes in my name, it will be again cut by 2/3. Thanks to the WEP and the GPO I can’t survive without my husband who ia able to collect his NJ pension and his full SS.

  6. When we first began to pay into Social Security, there was no mention of our eventual payment being reduced because of having a state pension. It is like taking out insurance and when it comes time to be paid the insurance company says sorry, you have a pre existing condition, so you cannot get the amount you were suppose to get. Of course all the other people who have contributed are not effected by this criteria. It is like Charlie Brown being told by Lucy “Kick the ball.” Only for her to snatch it away. This is unfair to many people who have done so much for our children. With today’s economy this is an burden that needs to chance immediately.

  7. Not every teacher started out their career right out of teacher college.
    Some of us worked in retail,food industry during college, or after we graduated. This time spent working where social security was collected needs to be given back when the time comes. It is great that we were able to find a profession in teaching with good benefits, but their are some who have needed to go back into a different field of work to make ends meet. A second job for a teacher collects social security just as other employees would. Again, we should not be penalized for making life decision that social security was collected.

  8. I would like to share how unfair this has been to others like me. Back in 1988 when our Government decided to create FERS, representatives came around to explain the new FERS plan as opposed to CSRS. At the time, I questioned how it would work for people like myself who had already worked the required 40 quarters under Social Security. I was told, at that time, I should stay with CSRS, as I would be able to draw both. I made that decision so I could draw both. After everyone had made their decision, Congress then decided they would enact both the GPO and WEP. My Social Security is offset by 2/3 of what I should be able to draw. To me, this seemed like FALSE advertising, as I was promised one thing and then given another with no chance to ask WHY. Reminding Congress that Military are allowed to draw BOTH Military retirement and social security, as are you Congress members. Surely Congress can rectify this unfortunate decision. It should have been corrected years ago. Please make the right decision now.

  9. We paid for this so called “entitlement” which it is not. This is not “double dipping” it is a payment that is due to us teachers as it is any other public servant.

  10. I worked two jobs for many years while teaching full time for 34 years. I paid in to Social Security in those part time jobs. I would like to have the benefit of what I did -working part time jobs for 11 years- now that I am retired. I continue to work in my retirement so that I will have enough money to be independently able to pay my bills. I have been retired for 10 years but have continued to work for all ten of those years. Please stop the penalty you have imposed on teachers. Thank you.

  11. This is my 22nd year teaching. I am 57 years old. I have paid into social security since I was 16 years old and I continue to pay into it. I have a second job that I work besides teaching and they take social security out of my check. I believe this is only fair that I receive all of my social security benefits when I retire. I believe congress should pass the Social Security Fairness Act. This will influence my voting in the future. I hope you support the act.

  12. I have more than 40 quarters in to qualify for Social Security. I paid into SS for over 50 years since I was about 15 years old. I know am being punished for having taught school for 35 years. I worked every summer paying into SS to pay my taxes and now rich politicians decide they should steal 2/3 of what I am supposed to get. Why are there people who have not paid into SS who get benefits while those of us who paid in for so long get our benefits stolen? This is not right. Why do military personnel get exempted? Aren’t they government employees? They get a ifetime pension after only 20 years. This isn’t right!!

  13. I am 72 years old retired, disabled educator who only taught for 22 years. I have lost over 40 percent of the Social Security benefits that I earned over a lifetime. Please repeal both the GOP and the WEP. This legislation is so unfair. Repeal it please.

  14. As a recent retired teacher, school counselor and administrator for more than 35 years, I believe that the time to repeal the GOP and WEP which reduces the social security benefits for educators is long overdue. When I started my career in education in the 70’s the pay was substantially lower than other professions with comparable degree requirements Therefore, many teachers including myself worked many part time and summer jobs in order to keep up with the costs of living. Many teachers worked all of these extra jobs because they were proud to be teachers and did what was necessary in order to serve the children in this country. I could never understand why educators are punished by the social security system by reducing the amount of money they can collect after paying into the system through their part time employment. Further, teachers are not eligible to collect the social security benefits from their spouse upon death if they are collecting a teacher pension. There are only 15 states left that enforce this policy please repeal this with the coronavirus legislative package.

  15. STOP RIGHT THERE REPUBLICANS! You have been trying to privatize social security and turn it over to wall street for decades. Enough is enough. Have you no moral fiber or conscience?

  16. Social security should not be penalized for seniors. They are and remain at high risk for contracting the virus and they need all the financial and medical protection that our state and federal government promised to provide. A fixed income should remain fixed. I urge you to repeal all unfair social security penalties!

  17. I loved teaching the students and now you want to punish me for trying to build a safe, well educated future for all of us. That is a real slap in the face. Salaries were so low, you had to do extra work to make ends meet especially if you’re trying to get things for the classroom that the school could not provide.

  18. While attending college, I worked in the public sector for 6 years and paid into Social Security. Upon graduation from college, I began my teaching career. After 37 years of teaching in CT public schools, I retired from full-time teaching and collected my teachers’ retirement pension. I then returned to the classroom as a paraprofessional and paid into SS and MERS for 20 years. That equals 26 years of paying into retirement funds from which I receive only partial benefits.

    In all fairness, the GPO and WEP should be repealed, and I should receive the benefits of the funds I “contributed” over all those years!

  19. Please repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). The Social Security Fairness Act (S. 521/H.R. 141) repeals both the GPO and WEP. I worked and paid into Social Security for many more than 40 quarters but yet I receive less than $100 after my Medicare dues are taken out. It’s also very unfair that I’m also not able to receive half of my spouses Social Security if he dies…however any other spouse is able to receive that benefit. Please, please repeal the GPO and the WEP. Thank you

  20. Why should we be penalized by having Social Security ripped away from us just because of being a teacher? Ridiculous! You obviously have no idea how much of our income was spent on extra curricular items or materials to enhance learning in our classes.

    1. Please consider all that teachers put into their own classrooms every year out of their own pockets that they are not able to claim on their taxes. Also their loans are not forgiven. Many educators, including me, have put in more than 10 years into Social Security with other jobs and we deserve to have the income through Social Security at the full percentage we put into it without it being pillaged by the Windfall Provision!

    2. WHEN I WAS HIRE AS AN EDUCATOR THE GOVERNMENT TOOK OUT EVERY SINGLE AS TAX OR PAYMENT WHY SHOULD YOU TAKE AWAY FROM US WE HELP BUILD SS UP WITH PUR HARD WORK AND YEARS OF WORK WITHOUT US WHO INVESTED IN OUR SS WHERE WOULD AS BE

  21. The WEP was only passed to punish those who dropped out of the SS System, without regard for any logic. It’s time this misguided provision was put to bed. Depriving teachers and other retirees the “earned” SS benefits is flat wrong.

    PUT IT IN THE BILL!!

  22. It is unfair to penalize anyone who has worked hard throughout his/her life and paid into social security regardless any other financial benefits he/she might have earned. If this were your situation, would you disagree? In today’s world, it is not unusual for grandparents to be raising grandchildren and/or having their grown children living with them.Have a heart and do the right thing!Repeal the Government Pension Offset as well as the Windfall Elimination Provision.

  23. I started earning SS at 16 and even with a college education I have to work at 83 years old to meet payment deadlines. My 9 1/5 years of service to care for homeless children, being a stepmom for 50 years and being a school bus driver part time for 34 years I still have a part time job along with husbands small pension to meet car payment etc. its not enjoyable to live on less than poverty level. God is good and that is why I look forward to my SS check each month

  24. Bait and switch…promise you will be better of working for a Public School retirement and not Social Security and be screwed out of both. I have enough years paying into social security but they are not “substantial” enough earnings for them to count. I survived on those wages and they should count. Give us our Social Security that is calculated from what we paid. Enough is enough!

  25. Our seniors are the one’s who have spent their lifetimes contributing to their Social Security plans. They need to count on that check each money to survive and continue to maintain their livelihoods. They to pay medical bills, rent, mortgages, taxes, buy food and deserve to live a healthy life. This bill will take away their dignity and cause more harm to a life that has already been upset by our present system and administration. Let’s get in the real world and repeal this unjust Social Security penalties NOW>

    1. Workers, the poor, the middle class need help. CEO’s and rich corporations do not need help like real people do.

      1. Please consider all that teachers put into their own classrooms every year out of their own pockets that they are not able to claim on their taxes. Also their loans are not forgiven. Many educators, including me, have put in more than 10 years into Social Security with other jobs and we deserve to have the income through Social Security at the full percentage we put into it without it being pillaged by the Windfall Provision!

    2. Please consider all that teachers put into their own classrooms every year out of their own pockets that they are not able to claim on their taxes. Also their loans are not forgiven. Many educators, including me, have put in more than 10 years into Social Security with other jobs and we deserve to have the income through Social Security at the full percentage we put into it without it being pillaged by the Windfall Provision!

    3. We put our money & time in this dont take something away you didn’t give us you are robbing us for our own money we pay into this you didn’t give us this it is the people’s own blood sweat and tears money not yours

    4. Do not take Social Security away from our seniors or our disabled americans. These people need these checks to survive.

  26. I worked many years under social security before returning to education and did additional work while teaching to secure my SS benefits, but only learned of the SS penalty upon retiring from teaching in CA. It has really been a financial burden to only get half of what I should be getting as a retiree from SS. If I had stayed teaching during those years, I would have a higher defined benefit. Reagan’s horrible plan must end so that retired educators are not penalized for taking care of their families. Educators that came in from the military did not have their military pensions reduced at retirement.

  27. As a retired public school teacher and a widow, I ask why I should be denied the monies my husband put in to Social Security during his 35 year working career? Who does get the money that was taken from his checks for Social Security? Doesn’t it make sense since it was from his earnings that it would go to his family member who needs that money for health and living expenses?

  28. Everlena Roanoke-Jones March 22, 2020 . The U S Treasury garnished my check and Social Security. They take over 600.00 from my check and 287.00 from Social Security and a processing place gets their share and they keep adding interest. They are stealing my money. If the President gives a stimulus they will take that also. I had a crooked military husband and I’m paying for what he did. It’s horrible.

  29. I started working at 15. I worked most of my like until I retired at 59 because my husband had cancer. My last job was as a city employee. My husband died and I am now able to only collect 800.00 per month ss from his benefit because of my years at a city job. It is so unfair.

  30. Thank You, NEA for doing this email project. I have made many calls to my Representative in Congress and my 2 Florida Senators for their support. I have asked them to co-sign HR 141 in the House and S 521 in the Senate to repeal this law. My Representative keeps saying on TV that he supports senior citizens and protects Social Security. I then call and remind him my situation and ask for his support.

  31. We are two America’s- One for the rich and corporations and one for the rest of us working Americans. What we have now is unsustainable.

  32. I have worked 7 different jobs for over 30 years while paying for college and raising a family. I got into teaching late in my career. I counted on receiving my social security check upon retiring. I did not know I would lose 2/3 of my money by becoming a teacher!

  33. I taught for 35 years before becoming disabled and now retired. My years of service should be rewarded not penalized.

  34. I worked and paid into Social Security starting from the time I was 14 until I was 40 working for an insurance company. I had never heard of such craziness until I became a teacher and a union representative. What I contributed to my retirement for 20 years wouldn’t feed a chipmunk for a winter.?
    And what little bit I get from social Security after taxes is a Pittance 😪. What we need is to make everyone pay Social Security, everyone, Doctors, Lawyers, Dentists , Actors , and even Senators and Congressmen. We have to stop making Congress elite, “Do as I say not as I do “, liars and cheats. These rich SOB’s do everything they can to send a message to average Americans that they are elitist and above the law. Remember no insider trading information that was passed several years ago. Well seams too me that certain members is Congress got before hand information about the Corona Virus and dumped their stocks at a perfect time making hundreds of thousands of dollars before anyone else heard the news and the markets crashed. Shouldn’t they be arrested and made an example of.

  35. Like the others I worked many years paying into SS but had my earned benefits cut because of a teacher’s pension.
    Tax breaks for the wealthy and the “shaft” for workers? This is wrong.
    We need to fix the inequality and shore up Social Security.

  36. 45 years of working in the USA …. Being punished for working two separate Careers due to being in Public Service one Career Government takes away 50% of my Social Security Benefits!! This is wrong on too many Levels. Shameful!!

  37. The people on Social Security can hardly make on what they get they don’t need anything else taking from them. In a lot of cases people are just not able to work. My husband is on disability Social Security with his doctor bills and need of care we don’t have enough to get through the month.

  38. All retirees who are subject to the WEP need to contact their members of Congress and urge them to cosponsor HR 141! Visit congress.gov to see the bill and which MoC’s still need to sign up. Spread the word!

    1. Not only did I put in my 40 credits into Social Security and, but I found out that I do not even get to keep the credits i earned before i was 21! That makes no sense to me! Then, because I was getting state teaching benefits from one state, I lost 2/3 of all of my Social Security benefits. And, since I didn’t teach in the same state for all 20 years, I am penalized for that. So now I live in Affordable Housing, on my limited Pension, after teaching 20 years, exclusively in our Country’s most difficult Inner Cities, because I felt called there, as a citizen. But then, teachers are not honored in this country, are they?

    2. Do the humane thing and pass legislation to repeal the WEP Bill HR 141. It was NEVERA Fair to begin with!

  39. This is an outrage, no other sector of our working citizens are affected. Of all the essential staff in our country, educators and other public servants ( who are grossly under paid anyway) can’t afford to retire after dedicating years to you and your children. Do something to correct this travesty now.

  40. I’m a retired California teacher. It’s outrageous that those who chose public service in order to educate young people would not be able to access the social security they earned during their private sector lives! This is not the way to show appreciation and respect to our educators.

  41. My husband who is a retired educator also is able to collect SS. However, it is only a fraction of what he would get if he hadn’t been a teacher. People in the private sector can have multiple sources of income retirement. Those who have taught should have the same access to all sources of retirement income to which they have contributed. The current SS distribution to those who have taught and other public sector workers only became law under President Reagan. Currently, Congress is looking at a way to boost or assist citizens in this extraordinary time. What better time to make this change to public sector employees and retired public sector employees? Do the right thing right now!

  42. As a 77 year old epileptic retired, widow, I rely on SS to pay my bills and live daily. My income keeps me from poverty.

  43. I worked in private sector for 18 years and them spent 22 years in teaching. I get a low pension amount because full benefits occur after 35 years of teaching. I get $248. from social security even though I was required to pay into it my entire life in both careers. I spent over 40 years paying full amounts into social security and receive less than $250 per month in return. Isn’t it time to stop discriminating against educators?

  44. As a widow, still working, I have put into the Social Security System and SERS system. I am upset that when I retire, I will be penalized for working both over the years. I have earned both, why can’t I receive both, without penalty!!!!

  45. I started putting into Social Security when I was 14 working as a carhop in 1962 for the A&W Rootbeer stand. I have been putting into Social Security until I retired from 26 years of teaching at school on military bases around Europe and the U.S. It’s MY MONEY. I am now retired and count on my Social Security money to pay my rent, car expenses, visits to family, etc., etc. Congress gets paid really well. Why don’t they contribute some $$$ to help with our current situation?

    1. As a constituent, I urge you to include the Social Security Fairness Act in the coronavirus legislative package to help struggling retirees make ends meet during these extraordinarily difficult times.

      The Social Security Fairness Act repeals the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) that deprive 2.5 million educators and other public servants of Social Security benefits they have earned.

      The GPO reduces the Social Security benefits of people not covered by Social Security themselves while the WEP reduces the Social 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.

      The Social Security Fairness Act has had strong bipartisan support for many years.

      The time to act is now! Please include GPO/WEP repeal in the coronavirus legislative package.

    2. I have been working since 14 that’s a long time to believe in the government that you will see your money you put onto the ss dont steal my investment I work so hard for its not fair it like the government sold us false hope and dreams I believe in the government from age 14 until current Stop sailing false dreams to the American.

    3. I agree! I spent 20 years working in the private sector paying into SS before I became an Illinois teacher. When I retire from teaching, I should get my full SS benefits, but because of the WEP I only get about 45% of my SS. Not right in any way!

  46. Organizations such as NARFE (National Active and Retired Federal Employees) and some of the federal unions have been fighting for decades to undo these punitive Reagan era anti-worker/anti-union laws but have resistance by (mostly) Republican senators and representatives. While I worked almost 34 years in the federal government, I also worked over 20 years contributing to Social Security. Yet I only receive about 40% of the Social Security income I am entitled to receive because of Reagan’s so-called Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). At the same time, my friends who have state pensions are not penalized for having a government pension, and receive their full Social Security. Singling out only federal retirees is immoral and unjust. Repeal both the GPO and the WEP.

  47. Please repeal unfair Social Security penalties now! Make it a part of the coronavirus packet please!! So unfair to hard working people!!,

  48. And this is yet ANOTHER reason why individuals should choose NOT to go into education. Politicians claim this would be double dipping. Even though they themselves are guilty of that practice.

    I was under the impression that Social Security was an Entitlement program. Obviously it’s become a wealth pading program for the elite.

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