SPOKANE CHAPTER 32 NEWSLETTER
Published Monthly except July and August
21 - 03 Advocates for Current and Former Federal Employees March 2021
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Scott Robinson
MESSAGE FROM STEVE ROY, WASHINGTON STATE FEDERATION PRESIDENT
ARE YOU A VICTIM OF THE UNFAIR WEP and GPO?
IF SO, WE WOULD LIKE TO HEAR YOUR PERSONAL Story. The WEP and GPO unfairly impacts thousands of Americans including federal retirees and hits them in the pocketbook. We would like to share your story with Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05). Here is the background on WEP and GPO, The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).
The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) reduces the Social Security benefits of local, state and federal retirees who worked in Social Security-covered employment (e.g., private-sector jobs) and who also receive a government annuity from their non-Social Security covered government employment. As of December 2019, the WEP affects 1,912,706 beneficiaries, including 1,797,415 retired workers, 12,943 workers with disabilities, and 102,348 spouses and children. In 2020, the WEP can result in a monthly benefit that is $480 lower than under the regular benefit formula. This unfair reduction causes a disproportionate reduction in benefits for workers with lower monthly benefit amounts than those with higher benefit amounts.
The WEP applies to federal retirees who began their federal employment prior to 1983 and are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). Under CSRS, federal employees pay a 7 percent payroll contribution toward their CSRS retirement annuities. They do not pay a 6.2 per-cent payroll tax toward Social Security, and therefore, do not earn any Social Security benefits based on their federal work. The WEP does not apply to federal employees covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), as these federal employees pay the 6.2 percent payroll tax, in addition to their FERS retirement contributions, and therefore earn Social Security benefits based on their government work.
The Government Pension Offset (GPO).
Legislation was enacted in 1977 to prevent government retirees from collecting both a government annuity based on their own work in non-Social Security covered employment and Social Security benefits based on their spouse’s work record. The new law became effective with government employees who were first eligible to retire in December 1982. The law known as the Social Security Government Pension Offset, or GPO provides that two-thirds of the government annuity offsets whatever Social Security bene-fits would be payable to the retired government worker as a spouse (wife, husband, widow, widower). Take the example of a spouse who receives a civil service annuity of $900 per month based on his/her own earnings and applies for a Social Security widow(er)’s benefit of $500. Two-thirds of his/her annuity, or $600, totally offsets the Social Security widow(er)’s benefit. Therefore, he/she receives no widow(er)’s benefit from Social Security.
As of December 2019, the GPO affects 707,879 beneficiaries. Of those affected by the GPO, 46 percent are widows or widowers, and 83 percent are women. In addition to Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuitants, the GPO affects thousands of state and municipal retirees, as well as teachers and police officers whose work is not covered by Social Security.
Please help us to inform Representative McMorris Rodgers about the impacts of WEP and GPO by providing us with your personal story. Our goal is to ask her to cosponsor legislation in the 117th Congress to repeal WPO and GPO.
DATES FOR YOUR CALENDAR
Due to the present health situation all Meetings are virtual until further notice.
To Join the Zoom Meeting, you can either:
Call: 1 – 253 – 215 - 8782
Meeting ID: 869 6851 3284, Passcode: 142288
Or you CLICK ON THIS LINK.
NARFE-PAC MaryAnn Bosky
You can contribute to NARFE-PAC contribution form in the NARFE magazine or by sending a check, made out to NARFE-PAC to our post office box. The address is: NARFE, PO Box 4592, Spokane, WA 99220.
The more members we have the more power to protect our benefits/retirement. We are speaking to all members not just those retired.
LEGISLATION Roger Bosky
As the new legislative session begins, Congress has proposed several bills favorable to employees and retirees. H.R. 352 would provide an average 3.2% pay raise for employees, H.R. 82 would eliminate some of the impacts the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Offset Provision (GPO) have on federal employees. NARFE has an extensive list of proposals in support of our earned benefits. They are included in the latest NARFE Magazine. NARFE is also doing a great job in providing all representatives with copies of our legislative agenda.
At our last meeting there was support for focusing our efforts on a couple of issues, Postal Refo