Stop the Government from Stealing My Retirement!

by Krantcents · 32 comments

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Stop the government from stealing my retirement!  There is little known provision of Social Security called Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) that reduces your benefits.  If you receive a pension based on earnings from any organization outside of Social Security and Social Security benefits, you will become familiar with this provision very quickly.  Why should this matter to you and what can you do?

Who is Eligible?

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) of Social Security reduces the benefits of Social Security, if you receive a pension based on a job where you did not pay Social Security taxes.  You may never face this situation, but it is possible that your spouse may face it.  Who is eligible?  It is anyone who worked for federal, state, local government agencies or nonprofit organizations who do not pay Social Security taxes and worked for an organization that did pay Social Security taxes.

Why should you care?

Most people may never work for organizations outside of Social Security and work for ones that do!  If you include teachers and others that normally do not seem as though they are government workers, the number is substantial.  Why are these people singled out?  The reasoning is that the individual’s projection in Social Security for retirement is based on inflation and you have no other earnings.  If you work thirty (30) years covered by Social Security and decide to work for a government agency, you just cut your benefits.  If you have a spouse that will make a claim as a beneficiary of your account, they too will be penalized.

You can have multiple government pensions and no reduction in benefits, but Social Security is treated differently!  In Los Angeles, our former police chief is receiving a government pension and working as a county supervisor.  He will double dip in another pension.  There are career military people who will receive a pension after twenty (20) or thirty (30) years and work for federal, state or local government.  Their pensions are not reduced and I do not think they should!  General Colin Powell receives a military pension and another pension for his service as Secretary of State.

Inflation!

Should we trust the Social Security Administration to calculate inflation?  There is no inflation!  Just ask the government and they will tell you inflation is low.  The president has suggested a change in the method of calculating inflation which affects the cost of living increases for Social Security.  Currently, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the last year is 1%.  You may believe it until you buy something.  Mortgage interest rates may be historically low, but most of us are not getting a new mortgage every year.  The products and services we buy have increased more than 1% in the last year.  The cost of gasoline has increased more than 1% in the last year which affects transportation costs for all products and services.

Is this Fair?

Simply said, I worked and worked hard for my Social Security benefits!  I worked for more than thirty (30) years in private industry.  I went into teaching because I wanted to make a difference in young people’s lives.  Don’t we want successful people in our classrooms?  Let’s encourage successful people to enter public service versus discouraging them.  I don’t think I should be treated differently than individuals who can accumulate multiple government pensions without any reduction in payments. Our lawmakers (federal, state & local) are not in Social Security and they make laws that do not affect them.  This should not surprise you because Congress  votes salary increases for themselves and allow insider trading for themselves.

Often, workers have multiple careers over their lifetime which may include both organization that pay Social Security taxes and those that do not.  You may be a teacher, police office, firefighter who may work other jobs that have social Security taxes and penalized in retirement.  Teachers often work second jobs in the summers or to supplement their salaries throughout their career and they will be subject to this provision.  There is a real need to attract the brightest and best into education!  There is a shortage of science and math teachers in education. Wouldn’t it be great to attract second career scientists and engineers to education?  They would bring practical knowledge to the classroom.

What can you do?

The answer is very simple, just sign a petition!  Go to Change.org, find Appeal the Windfall Elimination Provision of Social Security petition and sign the petition!  I would like you to do more by telling your friends, family and associates about the petition.  Distribute through social media, email, telephone and face to face.  Feel free to blog, copy parts or my entire article to promote this petition.  I have contacted my Senator and Congressman to let them know how I feel about this provision and I would appreciate it if you would do the same.  Change is difficult, but you can make a difference by helping me appeal this Social Security provision.

Final Thoughts

I am not asking you to boycott or protest!  I am just asking you to support a petition to change an unfair law.  What would this change do?  It will make retirement benefits equitable for all retirees.  If you work and earn a retirement in Social Security or a pension, you should not be penalized.  It allows everyone to work wherever they wish to work regardless if public (government) or private.  I appreciate all efforts to support this petition.

Phot by Flickr

Carnivals:

Carnival of MoneyPros at Making Sense of Cents
Yakezie Carnival at Financial Conflict Coach
Finance Carn. for Young Adults at Gen Y Finance Journey

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{ 26 comments }

Greg@ClubThrifty June 20, 2013 at 4:46 am

Wow. What a joke. We really make things overly complicated don’t we. Either you made the money or you didn’t in my eyes. I’ll be heading over to sign the petition today.

Krantcents June 20, 2013 at 7:46 am

Thanks, it may be a nother reason to not rely on Social Security!

DC @ Young Adult Money June 20, 2013 at 4:49 am

There’s so many “unfair” and downright illogical regulations that I don’t even know where to start when it comes to listing them off….the WEP sounds like another one to add to the list. I don’t expect there to be any sort of social security when I retire, so I have a hard time being concerned with it. I think we should sunset the program before it completely bankrupts us in a few decades.

Krantcents June 20, 2013 at 7:48 am

I find it interesting that the people (Congress) who make laws are not in Social Security! Further, it is okay to have multiple government pensions, but not Social Security and a pension.

Michelle June 20, 2013 at 5:23 am

Great post. I had no idea about this!

Krantcents June 20, 2013 at 7:49 am

Thanks, very few people know about WEP unless you are affected.

Kyle June 20, 2013 at 6:19 am

Social Security pays its benefits progressively and is designed to give a higher portion of its benefits to the poorer population. The WEP is in place because by working for an organization that does not pay Social Security taxes, it reduces your life time earnings, and you get paid a much larger benefit based on amount of Social Security taxes paid, while you are accruing a second benefit that will more than cover the reduction in social security. These other government pensions that trigger WEP typically have great terms that cannot be matched by Social Security or most private pensions (the few of which are left). If you want to eliminate WEP, than also eliminate the exemption from Social Security on that pay.

Krantcents June 20, 2013 at 7:52 am

If everyone were in Social Security, it would probably be more solvent. I also think our lawmakers should be in Social Security too.

nicoleandmaggie June 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm

What Kyle said. They’re taking away a windfall that people working for State governments used to get because to Social Security it looked like they were poor and needed more of their income replaced in order to afford catfood. But the state government pensions also have that progressivity built in, so they’re already getting that extra replacement rate on the early income.

Think about it as if it were taxes which are also progressive but more people understand… it’s like someone being taxed at the 15% rate for twice their income because they’re working for two governments that don’t know about each other rather than being bumped up to the 25% rate they would get to if working for one. Only in this case they used to be getting more money for the early dollars rather than a lower tax rate.

Basically people used to be able to game the system by working the minimum for social security and the minimum for a state pension, in essence double dipping and making more than someone working full term for either a social security job or for the state job would get. The windfall provision makes it so they’re just as well off as a person who spent all their career at the same job.

Krantcents June 27, 2013 at 8:56 pm

It is difficult to understand the intention, but it should be the same for everyone. If you can have multiple pensions working for various government agencies, it shouldn’t matter that one of them is Social Security.

Joe @ Stacking Benjamins June 20, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Here’s what I don’t understand, KC: we give an “earned income credit” to people that might be more than they earned, yet we take Social Security from people who paid in? Sounds a little sickening….

Krantcents June 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm

I agree! What bothers me more is that people can earn multiple government pensions and that is okay.

CashRebel June 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm

My mom worked in education for a large part of her career so I know what you’re talking about. Its an antiquated system for another time.

Krantcents June 20, 2013 at 5:07 pm

You would think the country would want to encourage the best and brightest to come into education. I guess it will take some changes in the retirement system to make that happen!

Mike@WeOnlyDoThisOnce June 21, 2013 at 8:10 am

I agree that there needs to be far more incentive for people to go into public (and private, to a lesser extent) education. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Krantcents June 21, 2013 at 8:52 am

If we want the brightest and best in education, something needs to change.

KK @ Student Debt Survivor June 21, 2013 at 11:40 am

My mom is a teacher, my step-dad is a state worker. Both worked in private industry for enough years to earn social security. Neither will get that money the way the system is currently set up. It’s horrible and unbelievable that you could pay into the system and essentially have your money stolen by the feds. Going to sign now and going to send this article to both of them to pass along to their teacher and state worker friends! Thank you!

Krantcents June 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Thanks, I hope I am starting a movement! It is in the interest of fairness.

Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies June 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Yet another reason that social security plays no part in our retirement plans. What I don’t get is why some organizations get to opt out like that!?! If it really is a national program, shouldn’t we all have to pay in?

Krantcents June 21, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Federal, state and local governments agencies are the larget number of organizations that opt out. Of course, our (Congress) legislators is another one. The people who make laws should have to participate, don’t you think?

Graciela Mcneil June 28, 2013 at 11:33 pm

The Social Security Administration (SSA) website contains links to websites not affiliated with the United States government. These may include State and Local governmental agencies, international agencies, and private entities.

Krantcents June 29, 2013 at 6:46 am

Every website has jumped onto the advertising bandwagon or added links they think would be helpful.

Elise Howe June 30, 2013 at 7:08 pm

The portion of taxes collected from the employee for Social Security are referred to as “trust fund taxes” and the employer is required to remit them to the government. These taxes take priority over everything, and represent the only debts of a corporation or LLC that can impose personal liability upon its officers or managers. A sole proprietor and officers of a corporation and managers of an LLC can be held personally liable for non-payment of the income tax and social security taxes whether or not actually collected from the employee.

Krantcents July 1, 2013 at 7:45 am

Although true, I am more concerned with how the government reduces retirement payments due to Social Security and a pension.

Gary July 8, 2013 at 11:39 am

The WEP won’t affect you if you worked for 30 years paying social security on “substantial earnings” which is actually not very much. It’s phased out for every year you paid social security until its gone after 30 years. You’re covered and so is your example of the person who worked 30 years then went into govt service.
source:
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/wep-chart.htm

Krantcents July 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Although I worked thirty years, there were a few summer jobs which are in there.

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