Talking Points: Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision

  • Nine out of ten public employees affected by the GPO lose their entire spousal benefit, even though their spouse paid Social Security taxes for many years.
  • The WEP causes hard-working people to lose up to sixty percent of the benefits they earned themselves.
  • Many workers rely on misleading Social Security Administration statements that fail to take into account the GPO and WEP when projecting benefits.
  • This is a national problem -- there are affected people in all states.
  • The impact of the GPO and the WEP is not just felt in those states in which public employees like educators are not covered by Social Security.  Because people move from state to state, there are affected individuals everywhere.
  • The number of people impacted across the country is growing every day as more and more people reach retirement age.
  • The loss of income forces some people into poverty.
  • Some 300,000 individuals lose an average of $3,600 a year due to the GPO -- an amount that can make the difference between self-sufficiency and poverty.  Impacted people have less money to spend in their local economy and sometimes have to turn to expensive government programs like food stamps to make ends meet.
  • We have a national teacher shortage, but the GPO and WEP discourage people from entering/staying in the profession.
  • Individuals who worked in other careers are less likely to want to become teachers if doing so will mean a loss of earned Social Security benefits.  The GPO and WEP are also causing current educators to leave the profession, and students to choose courses of study other than education.
  • Non-Social Security states are going to find it increasingly difficult to attract quality educators as more folks learn about the GPO and WEP.
  • The GPO and WEP don't only impact educators-other public employees like police officers and firefighters are hurt.
  • We should respect, not penalize, public service.