In Their Own Words: Retired Teachers, Police Officers, and Other Workers Explain How the Unfair WEP Impacts Their Social Security Benefits

October 27, 2016 — Blog   

Today, some workers do not receive the Social Security benefits they have earned when they reach retirement. It’s because of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)—a well-intended but flawed policy that treats some workers, like teachers, firefighters, and police officers, differently than other workers.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) are working to ensure Social Security treats all workers fairly. Last month, they asked Americans affected by the WEP for feedback. Here’s what people had to say:

The experience and knowledge about business that I brought to teaching from my career in industry was so valuable but, instead of being rewarded for returning to the classroom, my retirement benefits were reduced for wanting to help students.” — Glenna S., retired teacher

“I continued working as a carpenter for years while working as a police officer, and continued to pay into Social Security. As I near retirement age, I understand that I will not receive my Social Security benefit like every other hard working American. Simply put, I paid a lot of money into Social Security. If I was not going to receive the benefit, then why did I have to pay all that Social Security Tax! This is not fair and needs to be changed.” — Michael S., police officer

“When I was going to turn 62, I applied for Social Security. I figured out my monthly benefit, which would have been about $700.00. However, the Social Security employee at the Ontario, CA Social Security office said that since I had worked in ‘Public Safety,’ the Windfall Elimination Provision would reduce my monthly benefit … I’m grateful to get any benefit at all, but I wish WEP had not cut it so much.” — Stephen S., retired parole agent

“My story is not much different from other men who dedicated themselves to hard work for what they wanted from life, but the Social Security retirement benefits are certainly different. I truly enjoyed my life’s work, but receiving the full amount of Social Security benefits I worked for would help me to enjoy my retirement years. The WEP is unfair.” — Danny B., retired teacher

“The reduced [Social Security] payments hit especially hard when the husband is a firefighter and the wife is a teacher. It’s a double-whammy of unfairness. We’ve both worked multiple jobs during our careers to support our family. Why can’t we benefit from that hard work? — Martha T., retired teacher

“I worked for the USPS for over 31 years. Prior to working for the Postal Service I worked almost eleven years in the private sector … all together I worked for 42 years. I feel that I am being discriminated against for working my whole adult life … It is grossly unfair that civil servants of every profession will not be able to get the money we paid in to Social Security.” — Roseanne M., retired postal service worker

CLICK HERE to share how the WEP has impacted you, or email WEP.feedback@mail.house.gov.

CLICK HERE to learn how Social Security benefits are calculated and how the WEP applies.

CLICK HERE to read why the WEP is unfair.

CLICK HERE for an infographic explaining how the WEP affects some workers.

SUBCOMMITTEE: Social Security