GPO and WEP—they sound like alphabet soup, but the federal Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision spell financial hardship for teachers. These federal acts, enacted 40 years ago, reduce or entirely eliminate the Social Security benefits teachers and their spouses receive upon retirement.
Connecticut teachers contribute to a state pension system rather than Social Security, but many have had a career prior to teaching during which they paid into Social Security, and most, if not all, teachers work second or third jobs where Social Security contributions are subtracted from their pay. Despite paying into Social Security for years through their non-teaching jobs, teachers in Connecticut and 14 other states—as well as other state, county, and municipal employees—see their benefits cut or eliminated.
Congressman John Larson has a bill before Congress that would repeal GPO and WEP, as well as expand and strengthen Social Security benefits, and ensure that wealthier Americans pay their fair share. Larson and Education Association of Preston President Susan Strader joined CEA President Kate Dias and Vice President Joslyn DeLancey on CEA’s podcast to discuss how Larson’s bill will help teachers and the need to get it passed.
As teacher shortages worsen across the nation, it’s more important than ever to repeal these penalties to better attract and retain educators. Listen below, or wherever you get your podcasts, to find out more.