I have been writing to lawmakers on behalf of government retirees for over 30 years about the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) of the Social Security Act, which reduces the earned Social Security benefits of federal, state, and local retirees. government and their surviving spouses.
GPO and WEP punish individuals who have devoted their careers to public service and their spouses by taking away Social Security benefits they have rightfully earned. This results in thousands of dollars in lost benefits each year, which has profound implications for retirees living on a fixed income. This law was passed in 1982 to prevent “fat cat” career politicians from double-dipping and disrespected hard-working government employees. Understand that it won’t work until you retire and live on a steady income.
Now the destruction of these facilities strikes. My 67-year-old husband died and when I called Social Security to report his death, I was told I wouldn’t be getting any of his Social Security benefits because I was a retired federal employee. He had worked for over 35 years in the private sector and paid to Social Security. Without his monthly Social Security check, my living income is drastically reduced. Understand that widows are the hardest hit, losing more than 50 percent of their living income.
Please know, federal retirees don’t get anything for free. We paid the same to a pension fund as other citizens who worked for a company that also had a pension plan. Furthermore, while we were employed, we still paid and continue to pay for our supplemental health insurance.
I hope lawmakers who genuinely care about people read and take action.