Newsline

Newsline , Society

AMAC Backs Reform of the Social Security WEP Clause that Penalizes Private Sector Workers

Posted on Friday, July 24, 2020
|
by AMAC, John Grimaldi
|
59 Comments
Social Security

WASHINGTON, DC, July 24 — AMAC Action is calling for reform of the Windfall Elimination Provision [WEP].  “It does a disservice to public service employees who paid into the Social Security fund when they took up a second private sector career or who needed to take a second job by shortchanging them when they retire,” says Bob Carlstrom, president of the advocacy affiliate of the 2.1 million-member Association of Mature American Citizens {AMAC].

Carlstrom and AMAC are putting their support behind legislation the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act to remedy what he calls “the unfair” impact that WEP has on those who chose public service as a primary career.

“WEP reduces Social Security benefits for a worker who receives a public pension.  This is problematic for public service employees that work another job on the side, or for individuals who want to transition into a public service profession such as teaching.  Both would receive reduced benefits even though they have already contributed money into the system.  Educators, police officers, and firefighters should not be in the position for weaker benefits after they have already contributed to the Social Security fund for many years.”

According the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security advisor, Russell Gloor, “It’s not unusual for individuals who work in the private sector to transition into second, public sector careers.  It is also commonplace for those working in the public sector to make ends meet by moonlighting in second, private-sector jobs.  Either way they wind up making contributions into the Social Security pool.  But many of them wind up having their Social Security benefits severely reduced because of the WEP clause.  Current estimates are that nearly two million American workers are impacted by the Windfall Elimination Provision and it can have a particularly onerous bearing on police officers, firefighters and teachers.“

The Bipartisan Policy Center has also thrown its support behind WEP reform.  As that influential think tank put it: “Many state and local government workers are not covered by Social Security, meaning that employees and their employers do not contribute payroll taxes on their earnings from those positions. Yet many of these workers also work part of their careers (or work part-time) in covered employment and will still be eligible for Social Security benefits. The WEP was originally designed to prevent these individuals from receiving unintentionally large Social Security benefits, but its methodology is overly complex and does not allocate benefits equitably.”

AMAC’s Gloor says it is understandable that workers who transitioned from a private sector job to public sector, Social Security-covered employment view WEP as unfair.  “Even with 20 years of earnings from which Social Security taxes have been paid, their benefit can be reduced by as much as half simply because they had another career during which they didn’t contribute to Social Security.  Similarly, civil servants who moonlighted at a second job during their careers in order to get by and paid into the Social Security fund can get shortchanged.  Nevertheless, WEP still applies today, amid the cries of unfairness by nearly two million affected Americans.  Though several bills have, in recent years, been introduced to either repeal or reform the WEP provision, none have made it past being “referred to committee” in Congress.   According to those who are most hurt by WEP, it’s time for Congress to stop penalizing our nation’s public servants and enact WEP reform.”

Share this article:
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
59 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Glynda Cooper
Glynda Cooper
3 years ago

Thank you for being an advocate in this area –a voice for us who cannot speak on this behalf. And not allowed to draw from spousal social security benefits after passing.

Daniel J. Roeder
Daniel J. Roeder
3 years ago

My wife worked in the private sector for 15 years. Our third child was born with a right frontal lobe brain disorder and so for the next several years she worked as an at home parent. As our son developed she began to work part time then 15 years ago she went to work for the Amarillo ISD for the Front Office in one of the High Schools as the Attendance Clerk. She turned 65 this February and has High Blood Pressure, and Diabetes. When my wife visited with her principal to see if there were some options for her due to age and conditions (All 45 Teachers have their Mail Slots in her office). The Principal made no accommodations due to COVID. Our son who is an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner in a COVID ICU recommend she retire. During almost all of these years I have paid in the Maximum to SS. Last week we found out the WEP would reduce her SS from 1049.00 to $585.00 and when she tries to claim on mine they reduce it by almost 50% due to the (GPO) Government Pension Offset. When Reagan was President the Grace Commission adjusted our SS Rates and this is not an entitlement it is Money we paid in. the SS Funds at the time was supposed to allow us to have Self Directed Options until the Politicians robbed the SS Trust Fund of 4-5 Trillion dollars!

Kim
Kim
3 years ago

Social Security is such a complicated issue, and I have no familiarity with public sector employment. However, as sole proprietor of a small business for a few decades, I do know that I paid twice the SS taxes (as both employer and employee) that employed individuals paid, although my SS deposits have not doubled. So, maybe SS needs to look closely at this dilemma as well.
Eliminating fraud and abuse could increase payouts for all recipients, or lower taxes taken in the first place.

Lana
Lana
3 years ago

Thank you for standing for this issue. I have been trying to get this addressed since I retired and had my social security benefits cut due to starting to receive a state retirement. Unfortunately no one wants to look at the issue. I got more from social security when I was working than I do now under this penalty.

Preacherman
Preacherman
3 years ago

My wife worked in private sector for 18-20 years then went to work for a hospital system (cival service) for 18 years, left that job working in private sector again, her social security amount is a joke! Democrats can find a way to give money away for illegals but wont take care of American tax payers. Hope she can benifit if and when changes are made.

DaveG
DaveG
3 years ago

Another change that should be done is to not count years of lower income. This reduces benefits and incentive for people to work early in life or later in life. SS benefits are calculated by an average of payments of the number of years. I started working as a youth even before high school, now those years of paying in a few dollars count against me. Also now in my later years I’m faced with the same dilemma. Do I take a job that will bring my average payments down?

Della Latham
Della Latham
3 years ago

I fell into that group when I retired 11 years ago. They said they were only giving me 50 percent of what I was entitled to. The worker told me that I should be happy about it, that it was going to those that hadn’t worked. I’m a pretty charitable person, but I wasn’t happy about it at all.

Jake Slater
Jake Slater
3 years ago

Having trouble understanding this. Maybe it’s a regional thing. Because of unions, those we know who worked in the public sector have pensions, and benefits in retirement that far exceed anything we earned at the peak of employment in the private sector. Since a work accident left one of us disabled and dying, really wouldn’t mind their pension and medical benefits, instead we’re struggling on social security and Medicare/ Medicaid.

John S.
John S.
3 years ago

Twenty-two years ago, I moved to Nevada to begin a teaching career after paying into SS for over 17 years. I found out that the WEP reduces SS benefits for Nevada residents by 66%. Years ago, I wrote then-Senator Dean Heller’s (R) office to ask why I should get punished when I paid into the SS system in another state. The tone of the reply from his office felt like I was being scolded as it stated that SS is not a retirement system but a safety net for those less fortunate. Needless to say, I’m encouraged by reading about the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act.

Trg
Trg
3 years ago

I’m affected by WEP so I support this.

Rick
Rick
3 years ago

I worked in both private and public schools, with 22 years paying into social security. So, I took a reduced school retirement AND about a 50% cut in my earned (22 years) SS benefits because of WEP. My wife receives half of mine, which makes hers just a few hundred dollars per month after Medicare B. I would really like to get the retirement benefits of a full 22 years of credit I paid into instead of 11. Thank you, AMAC, for taking up this cause!

Roger Van Alyne
Roger Van Alyne
3 years ago

I served in the military for a quarter century – 5 years active duty and another 20 in the National Guard. I worked in government during those 20 years, so my Social Security will be impacted. It’s not just the fire fighters, law enforcement officers, and teachers who served and are impacted. I STRONGLY support WEP reform!

Nance
Nance
3 years ago

I think there is something more serious that should be addressed with regard to SS benefits. This double taxation once a person retires. People paid their dues for 20-40 years and as soon as they start pulling benefits they are taxed due to the income levels set by the government. This income also pays for their medical benefits (co-pay, coinsurance) that cannot be deducted. Their income is almost at poverty levels if this is all they depend on for living expenses. What percentage of the country’s population are civil servants?

Robert Messmer
Robert Messmer
3 years ago

Quote: “Many state and local government workers are not covered by Social Security, meaning that employees and their employers do not contribute payroll taxes on their earnings from those positions.” Simple solution. Make them all subject to social security. The military is already and Congress was moved into it in 1984 so there is no reason not to do so. Should also eliminate tax on Social Security benefits since the FICA tax is based on pre-tax income.

Sam
Sam
3 years ago

I retired from the FAA after 26 years. Before the civil service I worked in high school, college, 6 years in the USN, then spent about a year each working for AT&T and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Then after the FAA spent a while with Lockheed Martin. I didn’t accrue a GREAT deal towards SS but By God I paid into it! Now, as a retired fed I get right at half of what I should get. Strange how this stuff happens to us common trash out here in America, ‘playing the game’, working and paying taxes, while the thievin’ politicians finagle away our $$$$, calling us “double dippers”. I am not a big fan of politicians of either stripe.

Nicholas Ponzio
Nicholas Ponzio
3 years ago

I agree that the WEP provision should be repealed or reformed. At the same time you should be pushing to eliminate taxing social security and eliminating the IRMA rule. For those of you not familiar with IRMA, you can look it up.

Meredith
Meredith
3 years ago

While I can’t work due to chronic illness, my husband has worked very hard all his life and if he were to retire now we might get around $3,000 per month SS. With our IRAs, we could just barely survive in California, unless we get a lot of inflation, so my husband will continue to work. But I know a couple who worked as public school teachers and also as administrators (teaching liberalism) and they have well over $100,000 a year in retirement income. And they still whine that even though they worked a little in the private sector they get hardly any SS. Whining is their default attitude.
While other situations will probably differ, remember that not everyone who whines has been wronged.

JohnH
JohnH
3 years ago

One way to solve this is to make changes so that Federal employees pay into Social Security also. It sounds kind of crazy but that means the Federal Govt. would have to match employee amount , so sort of paying themselves. Otherwise, it seems fair that people should get SS benefits based on years worked and paid into SS fund.

DBM
DBM
3 years ago

Don’t public service workers, like congressmen and senators, get large retirement packages that dwarf social security? I thought that was one of the motivating factors in the WEP clause.

REBECCA G
REBECCA G
3 years ago

I worked in public service for 39 years. The first 25 years I paid into SSA. After that our union opted us out of paying into SSA.AA When I retired I was penalized and my SSA benefits reduced due to WEP. So, what can we, the public, do -other than pleading to our congress folk & senators -to move this along since its been brought up and laid to rest so many times.?

Jeff
Jeff
3 years ago

Public sector employees should all be required to contribute to Social Security. Any other pension saving should be through a 401k plan from their salary. No taxpayer money should be used to give these public sector employees any extra money in retirement.

Leslie McPeck
Leslie McPeck
3 years ago

Thanks for supporting reform. This needs to be fixed.

James Turpin
James Turpin
3 years ago

I retired in 1998 MWD Southern CA. I worked there for 11 years under CalPers public servant. Started in 1965 in private sector union until 1987. Upon retirement SS debucted 40% from my SS after paying in for 27 years. I’m glad someone is finally looking into this RIP off. I still pay for Medicare out of my SS + taxes again RIP off. Thank you!

Butch
Butch
3 years ago

I taught high school for 36 years and had a side job for every quarter for all 36 years. Then have worked 17 years in a nonprofit job. My Social Security benefits are half of my wife’s who worked in private teaching jobs. According to my SS statements I should have 3 times the income I have now.

Sharon
Sharon
3 years ago

I worked in business for 20 years then became a teacher. When I retired, I got a 60% in the soial security I should have
received. Not fair as I paid into the program for all those years. With what they take out for Medicare, that leaves me $280/month of ss.

Sharon
Sharon
3 years ago

I should have said I got a 60% reduction in the SS benefits I received.

wolverine70
wolverine70
3 years ago

WEP already has a phase out for workers with 20 years or more of significant earnings. These people who spent their primary earnings years not paying into Social Security shouldn’t get a windfall. Reform for widows/widowers might be worthy of consideration.

shed469
shed469
3 years ago

 

Sue
Sue
3 years ago

It’s truly sad to of watched my husband work his whole life. Paid into social security. Now to only receive half payment in return. The first year of his retirement diagnosed with dementia. The full payment sure would help with his care. Plus he earned it !!!!!!

shed469
shed469
3 years ago

A starting point is a needs test. When all retirement income is barely above the official poverty level, how can the word “windfall” be applied to your situation? It is plainly a penalty for daring to make a living where Social Security taxes are not collected. In my case, I asked they be withheld but the college where I worked refused. Whatever sense could have been made when this odious law was enacted has become a severe penalty for those who can least afford it. Those with large Social Security checks, in some cases their contributions were limited by high income and meeting the maximum contribution, along with high paid public jobs, they will still be well fed in retirement after WEP is applied. The truth is, that trying to change the WEP, since the early 1980’s, has failed because the members of Congress, good examples of what I just described, have no interest in fixing or killing the WEP law until they are exempted along with the poorest of Social Security retirees. Awhile back, my congressman was kind enough to listen to me about WEP in a 10-15 minute cell call. He thought everyone should get the retirement they paid into and were entitled to receive. In part, he meant that WEP should not penalize him either. Therefore, practically speaking, reform is a dead horse. Killing WEP for everyone, particularly our selfish public servants in Congress, is the best hope for ending this discriminatory WEP law.

Marlene F Nickerson
Marlene F Nickerson
3 years ago

I RETIRED ON DEC 31, 2012. I WORKED 38 1/2 YEARS CIVIL SERVICE. THE FIRST 13 YEARS I WAS UNDER THE OLD RETIREMENT SYSTEM AND PAID INTO THAT. IN 1987 THEY CHANGED THE RETIREMENT SYSTEM TO FERS (SOCIAL SECURITY). I WAS PAYING INTO BOTH THE OLD RETIREMENT SYSTEM AND FERS(SS) FOR THE NEXT 25 1/2 YEARS. PLUS THE FACT THAT I ALSO HAD PART-TIME JOBS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND PAID SS DUES THRU THEM. WHEN I RETIRED THE GOVERNMENT CHARGED ME A PENALTY OF OVER A THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH, THAT THEY TOOK FROM MY CIVIL SERVICE RETIREMENT, DUE TO THE WEP LAW. I PROTESTED BUT IT FELL ON DEAF EARS AS USUAL. THAT AMOUNTS TO $91,000 AS OF THIS MONTH (07/01/2020) I AM A WIDOW AND THE EXTRA 1000 + A MONTH WOULD BE VERY WELCOME. I PRAY THAT THIS LAW WILL BE OVERTURNED. I DO RECEIVE A SS CHECK EACH MONTH. THANK YOU AMAC

Sharon
Sharon
3 years ago

If one pays into Social Security, that person’s benefit should be appropriate to what they contributed. In IL the state is going broke due to government employees getting pension amounts that far exceed their contributions.

G Schalk
G Schalk
3 years ago

Just have all workers contribute only to social security and 401k’s. Repeal IRS code 501(c)(5)

Carol
Carol
3 years ago

My husband worked for almost 20 yrs in private sector before and after working for federal government for 25 years. He would get his annual SS statement as to how much he would get when he retired. What a joke. When he did start collecting SS they took almost half of what he should have received due to WEP . We have friends who collected full SS and receive an additional pension from a company like GE with no penalty. They were shocked when we told them about our situation. I even went to our Congressman many years ago who said he couldn’t support the bill to repeal it since it was double dipping and his SS constituents would be angry!

rick cramer
rick cramer
3 years ago

My wife worked in private sector at low wage levels most of her life, largely helping to get our kids through Christian school. Later on she worked at library for much better income but as a governmental organization they did not participate in social security. After just 8 years of service there we retired and she is getting a small pension. Right now social security takes a third of her pension under this provision. If I die first and she receives my social security under surviving spouse, they will take away 90% of her pension leaving her very close to destitute. The provision is a travesty for someone in her situation.

margaret potter
margaret potter
3 years ago

I worked over 27 years as a civil service employee and I paid into Social Security during this time. Yes, there were job classifications that did not pay into SS, and yes these employees did obtain private sector employment to earn “credit” to be eligible for SS at retirement. So what is the problem? The “filthy rich” people worked for their business / financial success and they too are eligible for SS, so why can not the “middle” class be eligible of SS benefits?

George Mason
George Mason
3 years ago

This is a horrible tax. Why has it not yet been repealed!!!

George Mason
George Mason
3 years ago

My wife worked in the public sector paying into SS. After having our daughter she went back to school and became a teacher. Her retirement as a teacher because of her late start was reduced by her years of service 20 verses 25/30. However, because of WEP her retire is cut. When she reached Medicare age of 65 they took was was left and now send her a bill for the remaining coverage which is large because of my retirement earnings. We are being kicked while we are down!!!

An older blonde women laughing in the kitchen with a grey haired man.
AMAC’s Medicare Advisory Service
The knowledge, guidance, and choices of coverage you’re looking for. The exceptional service you deserve.
The AMAC App on 3 different iPhone
Download the AMAC App
The AMAC App is the place to go for insightful news wherever you are and whenever you want.
Demonstration for stop the persecution Falun Gong in China. New York, USA - September 23, 2014:Stop the persecution of Falun Gong in China in 47 street and 1st Ave.
Ronald Reagan makes a dapper picture with a boutonniere in his lapel. The occasion was Reagan`s address before the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations on St. Patrick`s Day, March 17, 1980. At the time, the former movie actor and two-term California governor was running for the Republican Party nomination for president.
Usa and Venezuela Realistic Half Flags Together
US House of Representatives - January 6th Committee Logo

Stay informed! Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter.

"*" indicates required fields

59
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Subscribe to AMAC Daily News and Games