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Repealing the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision And Pension Offset 2017 Legislation

Update to those who are involved in these Social Security situations-

 

Here is the newest  legislation to be introduced to repeal the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision and the Pension Offset.

 

H.R. 1205 - Social Security Fairness Act of 2017

 

introduced 02/2017 by Rep. Rodney Davis (R - IL)

currently 158 co-sponsors 

has gone through the Ways and Means Committee

now in the sub-committee for Social Security

 

identical bill in the Senate S.915

introducedm04/2017 by Senator Sherrod Brown (D - OH)

currently 9 co-sponsors

In the Finance Commttee

S. 915 Social Security Fairness Act of 2017

 

Here is what the Committee for the Preservation of Social Security and Medicare says about this proposed legislation.

NCPSSM Public Policy - Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision

 

Only position I could find from AARP, although the article does not bear a year , John Rother left this position in 2011 - current AARP position ???????

 

AARP has not taken a position on GPO or WEP and neither supports nor opposes either piece of legislation. AARP’s public policies are recommended by its all volunteer National Legislative Council and approved by its volunteer Board of Directors. The Board has considered the issues but chose not to adopt policy on either the government pension offset (GPO) or the windfall elimination provision (WEP). Many teachers and public employees have been told they are being singled out for unfair treatment, but the issue is complex and if there were an injustice, AARP would be there fighting to correct it.

 

Washington Post ViewPoint : John Rother, AARP's Director of Policy and Strategy, on Social Security

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Gail, 

 

I realize it may be difficult to follow all of the postings on this topic, but you missed my point. I have, in fact, paid into both systems and had no option not to. My government employer started taking out BOTH SS and teacher retirement from my check when I was in my mid-forties. There is no way I will ever work long enough to escape the WEP, so basically, I've been given the equivalent of a tax hike. What I'm saying here is not that difficult to understand.

 

In your response to my post, you're writing as if you think you know more about my own situation than I do, which you don't. You're making assumptions and jumping to conclusions that are not accurate. 

 

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@woodlandgrace 

 

I am not trying to single you out except when you make general comments.

I am trying to tell you why and how things work.

 

Your situation is basically the same as others because your same employer didn't begin the Social Security program until later on and thus is only giving you 20 years of service under the system rather the 30 - 35 years necessary to not have the WEP to affect you.

 

How many years in total did you work for them?

Did you work somewhere else before or after and was that employment covered under SS?

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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The phrase " Double Dipping" has been used several times. Double dipping refers to eating out of the same pot twice without using a clean spoon. If a person pays into Social Security and his/her's pension plan, they are not double dipping. The two accounts have nothing to do with each other.

Social Security requires 40 quarters to be vested. 

If Mary works 40 quarters and then goes on welfare,she will get all her Social Security.

Jane however works 20 years decides to be a Teacher teaches for 15 years retires only to find out her Social Security has been greatly decreased. Jane getting all her SS would not be double dipping since the money is paid out of seperate account. Her not getting all of it is a great injustice.

 

The real reason WEP/GPO exist is SS did not have enough money to meet it's bills so like every other time the Government has a financial crisis they decided to stick into the Federal work force. 

 

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Gail,

 

I originally came here to comment on the article, which I did.  When questioned or criticized by others who seemed to think I didn't understand my own situation, I picked a few bits of information from my personal experience to explain why I felt the way I did.  I didn't come here seeking financial advice, and although I appreciate the fact that you felt the need to offer it, I'm not about to place all my private financial information on a discussion board for strangers to dissect.  While I'm no accountant, I have enough formal education to recognize the inherent unfairness in my unique situation and base that on logical reasons. You can disagree if you want, but I'm not sharing more about my financials here. I would also appreciate it if we could all at least agree that everyone's situations may be unique rather than assuming from the beginning that if one of us disagrees with the WEP that we must be wrong.

 

I still disagree with it. I know you won't see it my way, and that's okay. We don't have to agree.

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The bottom line is: Even the legislators agree that it's wrong - hence the bills before them ...debating on here whether it's right or wrong is pointless.  The fact that if you were hired after Dec 31st 1983, you are not affected proves they realized it was wrong 36 years ago! 

 

So, I don't understand the attacks on us for wanting what is already determined by legislators to be our rightful earnings. 

 

The issue is whether or not the legislators will fix it. Fixing it will tax an already taxed Social Security system (another issue that is not of our making). 

 

I hope and pray they see our struggle, and for many, it's a real struggle, one that ultimately could be literally life or death.  

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@SusanS26428 wrote:

The bottom line is: Even the legislators agree that it's wrong - hence the bills before them ...debating on here whether it's right or wrong is pointless.  The fact that if you were hired after Dec 31st 1983, you are not affected proves they realized it was wrong 36 years ago! 

 

So, I don't understand the attacks on us for wanting what is already determined by legislators to be our rightful earnings. 

 

The issue is whether or not the legislators will fix it. Fixing it will tax an already taxed Social Security system (another issue that is not of our making). 

 

I hope and pray they see our struggle, and for many, it's a real struggle, one that ultimately could be literally life or death.  


People hired after 12/31/83 are not affected because they changed the Federal Retirement system and anyone hired after that time paid into Social Security.

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There's a lot of information about WEP/GPO for those interested in getting more details on this site:

https://ssfairness.com/join-us/

 

 

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Let's hope the next bill they come up with, raises the maximum taxation threshold, on combined Social Security and Pension/IRA distributions, from the current threshold of $25,000/year (single). Above that, a person is subject to taxes on their Social Security benefits. Congress never indexed the threshold for inflation. If it were, the threshold would be closer to $50,000. Just like WEP, being taxed twice on Social Security  (once when you arned it, and again when you receive benefits) is just as unfair.

 

In order to "save" Social Security, the politicians decided to put little traps, in the Social Security law, that are only discovered when someone decides to receive benefits. The other gem was riase th retirement age to 67, and their plan to use chained CPI to provdie lower cost of living increases.

 

Finally, back to WEP, if the House maanges the pass teh WEP repeal, they should attach it to the 2019 budget resolution just to get it through the Senate and Trump.

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@nm5358 wrote:

Let's hope the next bill they come up with, raises the maximum taxation threshold, on combined Social Security and Pension/IRA distributions, from the current threshold of $25,000/year (single). Above that, a person is subject to taxes on their Social Security benefits. Congress never indexed the threshold for inflation. If it were, the threshold would be closer to $50,000.

 


 

H.R. 860 Social Security 2100 Act originated in the House at the end of January 2019 - companion legislation is in the Senate S. 969.

H.R. 860 - Social Security 2100 Act

S. 269 - Social Security 2100 Act

 

Section 104 - raises the income limits on the taxation of benefits.

Section 104. Replace the current-law thresholds for federal income taxation of OASDI benefits with a single set of thresholds at $50,000 for single filers and $100,000 for joint filersfor taxation of up to 85 percent of OASDI benefits, effective for tax year 2020. These thresholds would be fixed and not indexed to price inflation or average wage increase. The amount of revenue from taxation of OASDI benefits that would be allocated to the HI Trust Fund will be at the same level as if the current-law computation (in the absence of this provision) were applied. The net amount of revenue from taxing OASDI benefits, after the allocation to HI, would be allocated to the combined Social Security Trust Fund.

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Just like Congress to keep a problem, instead of fixing it. No indexing fro inflation is just a hidden tax increase. It is obvious by them presenting these bills. So, in about 5 - 10 years, again people will get a hidden tax. Meanwhile, they cut taxes on billionaires, and indexed their tax rates.

Taxing Social Security benefits was a bad idea when Congress enacted it, and it is bad now. To avoid taxation, you have to live on less than $25000 a year, which is just over twice the poverty limit fro a single person. Try living on just over $2000/month is most of the country; let alone $1000/month.

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There is current legislation H.R. 141-Social Security Fairness Act of 2019 currently in the Ways and Means Committee.   The sole purpose of this legislation is to repeal the WEP and GPO.

It currently has 110 co-sponsors.   You can read the text of the bill at:   https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/141/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22HR+141%22...

 

PLEASE e-mail the committee (wmdem.submissions@mail.house.gov) and urge them to move this bill to the Floor for immediate vote.  Check to see if your Reprensentative is a co-sponsor.  If so, e-mail or call their office and urge them to move on this legislation.  If not, urge them to sign on as a co-sponsor.  

 

This doesn't give recovery for back loss, but it does remove future deductions.  I'll take that as a first step. 

There is power in numbers so the more folks that make contact the better!

 

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Please everyone, contact your local representatives and senators and request that repel of the WEP and GPO be included in the upcoming pandemic relief bills.  This could be done with inclusion  H.R. 141-Social Security Fairness Act of 2019 .      Now is the perfect opportunity to get these repealed while the government is looking for ways to help those impacted by this pandemic.

 

Thanks!

Contributor

Interesting idea.

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Why wait on some potential legislation which repeals the WEP and the GPO to get passed ???- There have been many, many, many - got NO WHERE.  Even the ones that modified the current formula never got anywhere -

 

Why not just make a proposal to correct the whole system and you can be just like everybody else and have the same formula to get your full due SS benefit.

 

It is actually very simple -

  • Go back and pay your SS payroll taxes on that government salary for whatever number of years you might need to add up to 35 years.
  • Then get (whatever) government employer to match them - just like the public sector pays..

 

A one time deal to make things right - You did not pay this into the system during those years and neither did your (whatever) government employers. 

 

I'm sure some entity has your recorded government salary for those years when you did not pay into the Social Security system but now want your benefits.  Or you might even have them available - your part is 6.2 % of your salary and your (whatever) government employer's part is also 6.2 %.

 

As an example -

Say you made $ 30,000 during one of those years -

  • you would pay $ 1860 (6.2%) for that year
  • and your (whatever) government employer would match that same amount.

In fact, the SS system could even give you an option of picking the years of earnings for the number of years that you are short. (your choice - high or low - just has to meet the substantial earning amount in the year you earned it.).  Then it has to equal 35 years.  

 

Then after you and your whatever government employer make your payment to SSA - your benefit would be figured just like everybody else -

 

Problem solved - that is what I will be recommending to my Congressional Representative and perhaps Rep Rodney Davis (R - IL), author of this legislation and a whole bunch of others - he is a regular machine of legislation intros. 

 

Congressional Research Service Report / Analysis 02/07/2019 -Social Security:  The Windfall Eliminat...

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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One only needs 30 years of "substantial income", to avoid WEP, not 35, if you have worked in a non-Social Security paying job.

 

Your idea is a good one, with one minor flaw, one would have to pay 12.4%, not 6.2%, because you would have to pay both the employer and employee part of Social Security contributions.

 

So, if you made $30,000 at a government job. You will need to pay Social Security $3720 (30000*.124).

 

The unfortunate thing about this, is that the person, applying for beenfits, are usually retired, have limited funds, and did not realize they would be affected by the WEP.

 

I wqs one year short, with 29 years, and if I had $4000 to spare, I would do as you suggest. It would take 89 months (7 years, 4 months) to recoup the $4000, based upon how much WEP decreased my beenfit (about $45 a month).

 

 

 

 

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@nm5358 wrote:

One only needs 30 years of "substantial income", to avoid WEP, not 35, if you have worked in a non-Social Security paying job.

 

Your idea is a good one, with one minor flaw, one would have to pay 12.4%, not 6.2%, because you would have to pay both the employer and employee part of Social Security contributions.

 

So, if you made $30,000 at a government job. You will need to pay Social Security $3720 (30000*.124).

 

The unfortunate thing about this, is that the person, applying for beenfits, are usually retired, have limited funds, and did not realize they would be affected by the WEP.

 

I wqs one year short, with 29 years, and if I had $4000 to spare, I would do as you suggest. It would take 89 months (7 years, 4 months) to recoup the $4000, based upon how much WEP decreased my beenfit (about $45 a month).

 

 

 

 


To be like everybody else -meaning, NOT special -

Social Security calculates your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most.

SSA - Your Retirement Benefit: How It’s Figured

 

But, hey, under my suggested plan - you can pick whichever 35 years ya want - high or low - mark the ones ya want when you and your whatever goverment employer send in your payroll tax contributions.

 

No, I said that the whatever government employer you worked for should match your contribution - at least that is how it is done in the private world.  Private employees get it all with no problems - SS, Pension, if that is what their employers give (employee contributory or not ), perhaps even a match to their tax deferred retirement program, if they have that too.

 

Don't think that is possible to get them to pay their "fair share" of the matching 6.2%? 

Their participation in this corrective action, I feel, is imperative because THEY ARE ACTUALLY THE ONES THAT HAVE CAUSED THIS PROBLEM.  They should fix it with their matched contributions to what their previous employees need to pay as their contributions.  They also need to Stop NOT participating in the SS system - there are still many local and state governments that don't.

 

@nm5358said:

The unfortunate thing about this, is that the person, applying for beenfits, are usually retired, have limited funds, and did not realize they would be affected by the WEP.

 

Well, that is too bad - maybe they will just have to stick with the WEP / GPO modified benefit formula since they have no ability to jump into the SS system as it is for everybody to participated fully.

 

I think people who are involved in this mess don't really understand how all those contribution - employee/employer - work within the SS system.  Medicare contributions were always taken out - so why did they not notice that SS contributions were not being made? 

Want your full benefit - pay the piper - just like everybody else who paid into the system through the years. 

 

If we don't get something done about the financial problems of the current system - come about 2034, everybody will get a haircut = to about 21% - automatically.

Support H.R. 860 / S. 269 - The Social Security 2100 Act - this legislation according to the SSA Actuaries will fix the system for OVER the 75 year forecast period. 

  • It helps everybody to a certain extend, help the low income earner more,
  • raises the cap in a fair way and provides some (abeit small) benefit for those high income earners that will be contributing a whole lot of $$$$$,
  • raises the income limit for tax on benefits,
  • changes the COLA formula to one more applicable for seniors
  • and more

 

 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Since my husband died in Sept., I have recd no SS benefits.  I am asked to repay $68,325.10.  I am 88 and visually impaired.  Something is wrong with the system here.  I may not live long enough to repay it if I continue to recv. zero benefits - 4 years, I estimate.  If I had died first, nothing would have happened.

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@starababa75 wrote:

Since my husband died in Sept., I have recd no SS benefits.  I am asked to repay $68,325.10.  I am 88 and visually impaired.  Something is wrong with the system here.  I may not live long enough to repay it if I continue to recv. zero benefits - 4 years, I estimate.  If I had died first, nothing would have happened.


Since we don't know the whole situation, it is hard to advise you on anything.

There is no way we can determine what the problem might be or whether or not it is right or wrong.  We have no idea of your late husband's work career, in or out of the SS system or yours either.   Nor do we know if SSA is right or wrong in their determination.

Detailed facts would be needed to determine the problem and I doubt if you want to share those here.

 

Here are some suggestions for help -

You could contact your Congressional Representive's office to see if they can help you since it sounds like it might be quite involved and involve a rather long time period. They have staff that can do research and help you - but you have to give them the details.

 

You could also contact an eldercare attorney that has some specialty with Social Security benefits problems - you do not need one that specializes in Disability Claims.  Again, details are important and this method might cost you some money.  You have to decide how important it is to fight this claim about paying back the amount.

 

If your husband did owe money back to SS - it may not have even come from SS - it could be that he owed Uncle Sam something else that isn't written off.  Like, if he had employees and he didn't pay their payroll taxes to the government. If that could be the case, any other assets might also be attached - Uncle Sam doesn't like not being paid especially on certain things. 

Again, have no idea of your situation or how it might have occurred.

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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@starababa75 wrote:

Since my husband died in Sept., I have recd no SS benefits.  I am asked to repay $68,325.10.  I am 88 and visually impaired.  Something is wrong with the system here.  I may not live long enough to repay it if I continue to recv. zero benefits - 4 years, I estimate.  If I had died first, nothing would have happened.


Why would you have to repay anything?  

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@woodlandgrace wrote:

I agree. I called Social Security asking for information, and that individual could not answer my questions. I explained I simply wanted to know which years in my history would count toward eliminating my WEP, and the individual on the phone could not answer that question. He had access to my account but couldn't answer. I'm not certain that even they know what they're doing with this. There should be more transparency.


See if this Social Security pamphlet doesn't help you understand - it is only 2-pages and has both the "substantial earnings' table by year and the years worked (under the SS system) amount that you should receive.

Social Security - 2019 Windfall Elimination Provision

 

If you don't have close to 30 years of employment under the Social Security system with substantial earning then the regular SS benefit formula is not going to work because SS benefits are progressive.  Meaning those who make the least are given the most replacement % of their wages.

This is the whole problem for those who are affected by the WEP - you are not a low income earner and the old formula was putting you there - IOW, prior to the WEP, people in this situation were being given a bonus, a windfalll - thus the Windfall Elimination Provision.

 

This is how benefits are normally figured for those with 30 years of substantial earning.

Social Security 2019 Your Retirement Benefits - How it Is Figured

 

There are currently (3) bend points(%) in the formula to figure the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) from the AIME.  these do not work for people who have both SS earning and Government earnings where no SS was paid.  They are based on people who have 30 years of SS earning - substantial earnings (determined by year)

The bend points are now - 90% - 32% - 15% - these don't work for those affected by the WEP

Social Security - 2019 Primary Insurance Amount

 

However, lets average them

.90 + .32 + .15 = 1.37 divided by 3 = .46 (46%)

This correlates to the years of substantial earnings % which a person affected by the WEP will receive.  See this chart on page (2) - of the WEP pamphlet:

https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf

Years of Substantial Earnings - PerCentage

 

from the same WEP pamphlet

If you have 30 or more years of substantial earnings, we don’t reduce the standard 90 percent factor in our formula. See the first table that lists substantial earnings for each year.The second table shows the percentage used to reduce the 90 percent factor depending on the number of years of substantial earnings. If you have 21 to 29 years of substantial earnings, we reduce the 90 percent factor to between 45 and 85 percent. To see the maximum amount we could reduce your benefit, visit https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/wep-chart.html

 

It is complicated - but SS is complicated.

The WEP seems pretty close - or as close as anything will ever be - the situation is an outlier of the system and how benefits are normally figured.

Few people at SSA could actually explain it - I have tried over and over here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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@gail1, Yes, thanks. I had read the pamphlet before calling, and understand what it says. The problem is the person who answered the phone for the Social Security Administration could not tell me which (if any) columns on my Social Security earnings record would be used to determine which years qualify toward escaping the WEP. 

 

In my case, some of the amounts in these columns are quite different, and I just wanted to know which figure would be used to determine whether that year counted. I'm going to have to go to the local office to find out, but I feel like I already know the answer. In a best-case scenario, I would have to work until my 80's to avoid the WEP.

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I certainly agree. When you get your 1099 each year, it should indicate what you received in Social Secuity benefits, and what the total WEP penalty was; if any.. There should be a place, on the 1040 to take a credit, on taxes owed on Social Secuirty benefits and retirement income from an IRA. Though, the best solution is to eliminate teh WEP entirely. And, when they do, the legislation shoudl retore all penalized benefits, in full.

 

Of course, Congress, does not want to pay back what they "borrowed" from teh Social Security trust fund; let alone people penalized by the WEP.. This is part of the national debt they could easily write off, if they coudl get away with it. Both parties have had a hand in why Social Security and Medicare have solvency problems. They do not want to raise taxes on their wealthy minders.

 

There are Republicans, as well as soem Democrats, who would want to reform so called "entitlements" to take money and health care out of the pockets of retirees. Right now, for example, the spending bill will increase the Medicare Part D donut hole and foce people to pay more for medications. Another example, AARP, at one time, supported chained CPI to determien COLA for Social Security, unti its members, and non-members, pushed back; hard.

 

Congress, and the SSA, want to keep the WEP penalty hidden. In that way, it makes it near impossible for thsoe affected to know how they are being, for no better term, "robbed" of benefits. Also, they are hoping that those, penalized by the WEP, would not notice they were actually were. And, of course, they are hoping people just die, before they notice.

 

The chances, of WEP going away, with Trump in the White House, and the Senate in GOP hands, is about zero. And, the Democrats will be too busy impeaching Trump to do anything else, Expect two more years of gridlock and this being addressed after 2020; if ever.

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@mommak101 wrote:

Thanks!  I do have that information.  I believe the deduction should be reflected on the SocSec payment summary and not hidden.  This is an actual deduction from the earned benefit and should be shown as such.


If you know the amount of your pension and the years that you worked under the SS system and the amount of your earnings in those years (SS statements or your own records), you should be able to figure it using this formula from the SSA.  The WEP reduction maximum ( WEP guarantee) in the example is for 2012.

 

The WEP reduction maximum (WEP guarantee) in 2018 is $ 447.50.

 

SSA Program Explainer: Windfall Elimination Provision

 

But do keep in mind that any other deduction or additions are also considered in the formula like early retirement (deduction), COLA or delayed retirement (additions).

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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This WEP is truly a joke and should be viewed as immoral and/or at least, illegal.  I too worked for many more years in the private sector paying my SS requirements dutifully.  Then, having the gall to work for State government for almost 20 years (less than my private work years) I lost 40% of my earned SS contributions!!!  Give me a break!!  This is no different than being penalized for having two bank accounts in two different banks.  The one bank can say you deserve 40% less since you have another account elsewhere.  C'mon, you well-off Washington politicians who "represent" us!!  Better get in our corner; we're not going away with this legalized thievery!

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Please submit your personal stories on the impact of WEP and any comments to: WEP.Feedback@mail.house.gov   and provide input to the Committee.

 

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Having reached full retirement age, I decided to apply for my Social Security. I had a conversation with my Socila Security Specialist about WEP. She said it was because they had been calculating the benefits has if we were low income wage earners. In my case that would be feasible. But would the same not be true for none Civil Servants who just made their 40 quarters. Why does some one works 10 years under Socila Security and never works again get there full amount while someone else does the same plus 30 or more years in another job have theirs slashed. Their justification for WEP is faulty and it needs to be corrected or they need to based on how many quaters you paid into the system.

BTW I got a whopping $230 a month.

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Yes, and the Social Security and Government Retirement were worked in totally different time periods. They are totally separate. Therefore, Social Security should be fully paid 100%.
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The current bill to modify WEP was introduced by Kevin Bray who chairs the Ways and Means committee. Problem with his bill is it does very little to  help those who are already retired. 

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@l508156s wrote:

The current bill to modify WEP was introduced by Kevin Bray who chairs the Ways and Means committee. Problem with his bill is it does very little to  help those who are already retired. 


I think he has submitted a bill on the WEP every year since about 2014 - must have a thing for it !

But you are right, somebody will always get left out.

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My husband is affected by this law which is unfair.  What is the difference between collecting your pension and getting social security different to these people paying into their pension plan but not social security until they retired and worked after retirement with enough quarters paid in.  Why are they penalized and only able to receive 1/3 of what they are entitled to.  My husband could not afford to pay into both and support our family on a police officers pay.  He was forced to retired at age 39 due to an injury.  We could not live off of his disability pebsion and my salary so he went back to work part time (he could not make over his disabilty pension or we would have to pay part of that back to the county he retired from.  He is 68 years old and still needs to work part time so we can make ends meet.  If he were employed in the private sector like I was he would be entitled to receive 900.00 a month SS, but he is only getting 300.00 before part B is taken out.   I am on disability as well and cannot work due to my illness and my medicine is over 10,000 a year.   My Congressman who is Dutch Ruppersburgher said we will not see this unfair bill changed in our lifetime.  Their are enough sponsors and co sponsors for this bill but it never leaves commitee for a vote.  Why dont they just change it to allow people to make what they should be getting even if they are already getting SS but adjust from the time the bill is past and future retirees getting what they rightly deserve.  Many I have talked with said they would be glad if they could draw what they earned and did not care about back monies.  Many police departments have their own pension plans they pay into instead of Social Security but many officers have to work part time jobs to pay their bills.  I do not see how this is different from someone working for a private company, retiring with a pension and getting Social Security.  This law was passed because our law makers did not want these employees double dipping? They are the ones double dipping with what they make and all the perks to go along with it.  How can many law makers enter into politics making very little but when they leave many are millionaires?

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