Everyone deserves a secure retirement, especially those who devoted their career to public service. The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) threatens that by substantially reducing or eliminating the EARNED social security benefits of the millions of retired teachers and public employees who contributed to Social Security through other employment. Thousands more are penalized every year as they retire from public service because their state, municipality, or school district does not participate in the Social Security system.
This unfair penalty also contributes to the current teacher and educator shortages, as it serves as a disincentive for those looking to join the ranks of teachers as a second career when they learn that the WEP-GPO penalty will jeopardize their earned Social Security benefits if they enter the classroom.
Add your name to our petition to tell Congress to stop penalizing teachers and public employees and to repeal the WEP and GPO now! The WEP unfairly penalizes retirees in 15 states and Puerto Rico who have spent careers in public service but have also paid into Social Security at other points in their careers, whether while working in the private sector or in the public sector in states not affected by the WEP. The GPO denies survivor benefits to retired public service workers whose spouses paid into Social Security. Both penalties disproportionately affect low-income retirees, and the GPO targets women five times as often as men. With the national teacher shortage reaching crisis levels, allowing the WEP and GPO to continue is lunacy. These penalties disincentivize would-be second-profession teachers from joining the teaching field, when we need to be encouraging qualified candidates to become teachers, not threatening to eliminate their Social Security benefits. There is no context in which hurting the economic security of those who choose to serve their communities is justified.