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.
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.
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
Don’t steal my retirement!
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