OPERS endorses two WEP reform bills

We’re hopeful Congress will pursue a solution to help our members

By Matt Overturf, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

Oct. 31, 2019 – The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System recently endorsed two pieces of legislation in Washington that would reform the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision and provide a measure of relief for our members and retirees who have been impacted by the offset.

Under the current WEP law, retirees who are eligible to receive a pension from OPERS (or other public retirement systems), as well as Social Security, for working a portion of their career in the private sector often see their Social Security benefit reduced.

As we have heard from many of our retired members, WEP relief is one of their most pressing issues. OPERS’ Government Relations staff have been active on this issue for many years. As we continue to engage with members of Congress, we are encouraged by the current efforts to modify the WEP formula and bring much-needed relief to our retirees and the millions of public employees around the country who are impacted.

While other states may have larger populations of public employees who are impacted by the WEP, Ohio has the highest percentage of non-Social Security-covered public employees in the country. We are proud to strongly support both WEP reform bills, HR 3934 Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act and HR 4540 Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act, and urge Congress to continue to work toward a unified solution that can be enacted into law.

You can read our full endorsement letter here.

Matt Overturf

Matt Overturf is the External Relations Officer for OPERS. As a former legislative staffer, he is involved in our communication and advocacy efforts with the Ohio General Assembly, stakeholders and OPERS membership.

Matt Overturf

External Relations Officer

54 thoughts on “OPERS endorses two WEP reform bills

  • October 31, 2019 at 9:14 am
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    That’s a good thing keep pursuing we the people paid into that system under law and Congress is with holding are Paid commitment

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  • October 31, 2019 at 9:17 am
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    This is wonderful news, but have we heard this before? I have been impacted by this for many years and I’m struggling to Make ends meet. Social Security is such a volatile issue and one I hope to live to see it resolved. God bless you for all your doing on our behalf Genevieve

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    • October 31, 2019 at 11:00 pm
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      Yes it would be good

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  • October 31, 2019 at 9:22 am
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    This is the most unfair law I have ever experienced! When my husband retired, you took 2/3 of his SS away…. money that he worked hard for and had every right to it! What difference does it make that he took another job with PERS …… that is highway robbery that you will not give people what is theirs…. shame on our government and anyone for this outdated law! We only want what’s rightfully ours !!!

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  • October 31, 2019 at 9:47 am
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    I never worked under SS long enough for this legislation to affect me. But my husband is now receiving SS. If he dies before me, that would stop. Is there legislation in the works to change that?

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  • October 31, 2019 at 9:57 am
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    MY HUSBAND WORKED UNDER SOCIAL SECURITY FROM THE AGE OF 16 UNTIL HE RETIRED AT 62 AND DIED AT THE AGE OF 64. I worked in Public Housing for 30 years and also have my quarters in Social Security – after Medicare is taken out I get $18/monthly deposited into my account – as my tax person said that doesn’t even buy toilet paper. Why are women affected the most. Because we earned less. Shame. Repeal it all.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 10:00 am
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    Personally my Social Security Benefit was reduced almost 64% from the WEP law.
    This bill rips off hard working public service employees that are denied benefits they earned and paid for. This WEP law should be voted out. So those who earned these benefits get what they deserve Thanks for your work on this OPERS

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  • October 31, 2019 at 10:02 am
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    I payed into Social Security like everyone else for 18 years. Now I’m being punished because I changed my career. It’s just wrong! Please correct this.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 10:03 am
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    I have been watching this for the past 6 years with no result shown. At this time all my SS is being withheld and I receive now a bill for part B. It took 6 years to go to $0. So unfair for it is my money that was paid into system prior to working under PERS.
    I have little hope.

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    • October 31, 2019 at 1:33 pm
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      I too have to pay for part b and because of the unfair windfall the little bit of social security I was getting is not enough to cover my Medicare so now because of the windfall I owe them. So unjust!!!!

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  • October 31, 2019 at 10:06 am
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    Hurray! At least an effort is being made to address this highly unfair issue.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 10:10 am
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    I’m kind of in the middle of pers and social security.roughly will have 20 years in each.pers has reduced my retirement considerably from what it said in 05 when I was hired.the way it’s set up now I would of had more retirement if I stayed in the private sector.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 10:13 am
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    Thank you for your continued work. I am one who worked in both sectors and have seen my social security significantly decreased!

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  • October 31, 2019 at 10:22 am
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    Thank you for sponsoring this bill. Many of us in OPERS paid into social security as well. We should receive our fair share of the money we paid into the system.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 10:48 am
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    My husband passed away in 1996 at 59 yrs, he had worked for private industries from the age of 16 until about age 30 and paid into SOcial security! After entering PERS they changed the law! He worked for Courts approximately 30 years!!
    When he passed away, I received nothing of what he paid into SSA!!! And when I retired after working under PERS for 27 years, have only
    Received 83.00 a month of what I had paid into SSA! Very unfair, especially for a widow!!!!

    Linda Dwyer

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  • October 31, 2019 at 10:54 am
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    I paid into Social Security before my public employment and I’m paying into Social Security after my public employment. I should be able to receive the full benefit I qualify for. It is no more “double dipping” than anyone else who receives a private pension.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 10:57 am
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    Please add my name to a list of those who support and encourage these two bills.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 10:59 am
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    Reading over the reports and the actual legislation is pretty interesting. The bill is being predicted to have a 2% chance of passing. It is being sponsored by long list of Republicans with I Democrat supporter – that I can find. And, as before, the bill more or less supercedes the WEP with a complicated formula that looks to me like it will probably cut the present earnings of a very large percentage of PERS retirees rather than restore them to full SS earnings. It does give some very low income pensioners a monthly stipend that might help pay the Medicare Part B premium.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 11:00 am
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    I certainly hope this is finally passed. I’m retired under OPERS but I did work my 40 quarters way before I was in law enforcement and while in las enforcement I worked many off duty jobs in which social security was taken out. Right now I get only one third of what I should be getting from Social Security.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 11:24 am
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    I worked for many years paying into the social security system before working as a public employee. I have credits to receive benefits from social security as well as receiving my pension from PERS. I feel that I earned my benefit from social security, and that cutting it by nearly 60% is totally wrong. This definitely needs to be reformed and made fair towards retirees…..Thank You…Larry R. Stanley

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    • November 6, 2019 at 6:06 pm
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      I truly agree with that I hope and pray that the government fixes this so we get our full SS and PERS when retirement comes

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  • October 31, 2019 at 11:26 am
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    The GPO repeal bill also needs your endorsement.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 11:29 am
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    Thank you for your efforts. Washington seems very busy with other business and not too interested in helping our members. We can only hope and pray.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 11:30 am
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    Thank you so much for endorsing these two WEP Reform Bills. Praying that we can get these passed. I’m effected as well as many others. My husband worked all his life (42 years) under Social Security. He passed away in 2005 of colon cancer. Obviously he never collected Social Security and because of the Windfall Act I could not collect any of his Social Security. This is not fair and it is definitely not double dipping. We need to continue the fight until we win. Thank you.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 11:33 am
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    That’s great but I’m affected by the GPO. WHY IS THERE NO SUPPORT FOR REFORM OR DOING AWAY WITH THE GPO??? I receive SS on my deceased husbands SS account which is reduced by 2/3 of my PERS pension. My husband paid into SS his whole life yet I’m not allowed to receive that money because I worked as a state employee the last 25 years of my career. If I had NEVER had a job I could have collected what he paid in to SS. THAT’S ABSOLUTELY CRAZY!! How about some help for those penalized by the GPO!!! I’m 67 years old and have had to start working part time jobs to be able to support myself which is really difficult because of declining health. Instead of being able to enjoy retirement and the benefits of not having to work as my body ages, I am experiencing the worst time of my life, ever!

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  • October 31, 2019 at 11:49 am
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    Support of anything to relieve the WEP rules would be great. Every time we get a COLA raise my widows benefit from SS has to be re-evaluated and reduced. I’ve over 20 years in SS myself.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 12:04 pm
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    Please work hard to pass these new laws

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  • October 31, 2019 at 12:11 pm
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    I want to say a sincere thank you for taking on this challenge! I am one of those who was affected by the unfair WEP. I never understood why I should be penalized for starting my working career in the public sector and ended up retiring in the government sector – retiring from employment in the Clerk of Courts Office of Summit County, Ohio. I don’t even know how much I’ve been cheated out of – and yes! I feel cheated, because money was withheld from my SS check that I had paid into for years before going to work for county government. What right does anyone have to do this to anyone? As far as I’m concerned, they have no right……..but they did it anyway. Please do all you can to have this WEP repealed!!! It’s been in effect too long and has affected too many and was wrong from the very first day of implementation. It would also be a Godsend if you could make it possible for all money withheld to be retroactive to give us back all that was taken from us! Again, thank you so much. You have no idea how much I and all those that have been affected by WEP appreciate your efforts!!! May God bless you in your anticipated success!

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  • October 31, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Please continue your fight! We who have worked in the social security system for so long and have been penalized so unjustly after we contributed all of our quarters have been fighting for this individually for years and years! One of my best friends worked so hard writing senators and congressmen to no avail! She passed away losing the fight. With rising healthcare costs and everything else rising it has become a real burden to not have what we worked so hard for. Please please please continue to fight with all your might.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    We need every retired person to call congress to get this injustice reversed . We worked before and paid in and now they only want to give us a little portion back . We as retired citizens need support any way we can to get congress to correct this issue .

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  • October 31, 2019 at 12:16 pm
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    as in the past, I strongly support any effort to reduce/eliminate the WEP discrimination against PERS retires/workers. I’m hopeful that this time some actual results are forthcoming, but will take a wait & see attitude. I can only hope PERS has more influence on these bills than in the past & for our benefit, I wish you well.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 12:19 pm
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    This definitely needs to be repealed, we who worked under Social Security prior to or after pers paid into Social Security the same amount of taxes as everybody else. Now we are penalized, totally unfair I hope our legislators continue to fight for the removal of this unfair law.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 12:33 pm
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    Has anyone also addressed the government pension offset? This effects retires who if they did not receive a government pension would be able to collect from their spouses social security. As it is if this person looses their spouses social security income they will receive nothing and loose this income fromtheir spouse. Most opers pension people receive a pension which eliminates any income form their spouses social security. this also becomes a hardship for them if their spouse dies.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 12:51 pm
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    With new changes coming to OPERS regarding COLA increases being reduced for retirees, I believe the WEP should go away. We earned that money and should receive what we’re entitled to. Do the do the same for retirees who have a 401K and also Paid into social security. Since our COLAs May be reduced or not given for a few years, receiving full SS payment would certainly help. Thank you, OPERS, for fighting for us.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 12:58 pm
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    I have been anxiously awaiting for this legislation because I believe everyone that has worked in both sectors, the public and private, and is eligible for both benefits such as OPERS and Social Security, should be receiving benefits from both systems. I worked hard to retire and believe I/we should be receiving the Social Security benefit along side my/our OPERS pension. Thank you so much for working on our behalf.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 1:49 pm
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    For members like myself that have lost part of their social security because of our public pension have heard this legislation BS for a good number of years. With SS going broke and having a public pension I’m sure that this same talk or repeal legislation will continue another 40 years.If you think it’s actually going to happen,I suggest you start using non toxic white-out.
    All we can hope for is that OPERS quits trying to reduce our pensions either by taking our COLA or health insurance.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 2:47 pm
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    I hope and pray that the government does the right thing by paying people that payed in to social security the right amount of money they should get plus PERS

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  • October 31, 2019 at 2:55 pm
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    My exact situation. Applied, couldn’t believe this! The woman at SS office advised me In June, it’s called “double dipping! ” I am penalized for wanting to work and earn a living. Here in TX. I have NEVER seen so many recipients of SS, who have never worked, getting it illegally, working while disabled etc. Receiving benefits. Despicable…..

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  • October 31, 2019 at 2:57 pm
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    Thank you for endorsing this WEP legislation. I doubt if l will see it passed in my lifetime.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 3:38 pm
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    All of these comments need to be forwarded to the legislators. If they want our votes, they will not put this off any longer. They will right this terrible wrong being done to working, tax paying, voting citizens of the USA.
    I too have been penalized as all of you and it makes me very angry that WEP and GPO continues to exist!

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  • October 31, 2019 at 6:26 pm
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    Thank you for pursuing this while I worked most of my career under PERS, I would like to collect my years in Social Security.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 9:51 pm
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    After they reduced my social security I don’t even have enough left to pay for Medicare. Please keep fighting for us to get the money back that is due us.

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  • November 1, 2019 at 6:26 am
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    Folks, all or most of you have worked for “the government’ for many years and by now should know that these proposals are meaningless. Politicians just pandering for votes! I commend OPERS for supporting these 2 pieces of legislation but my prediction is that they will die in committee. Miracles do happen. Color me cynical but that is what 30+ years working for “the government” will do to you!

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  • November 1, 2019 at 10:24 am
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    Long overdue. This is so unfair as basically you are penalized for having worked part of your life in jobs covered by SS and then taking. PERS job. Never has made any sense.

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  • November 1, 2019 at 2:21 pm
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    according to the “private sector” earnings table, i earned 132 SSN points during my working lifetime.
    however, because i also have credits with PERS, a different table is used!
    how is this fair?! i worked TWICE as hard, sometimes working THREE or even FOUR JOBS AT THE SAME TIME, yet when it comes down to claiming what should be rightfully due me from my efforts, i am told that my payment is reduced because i have an additional pension.
    do retirees with union pensions have their ssn payments reduced?
    do retirees with pensions from the company they worked for, long enough to earn one, have their ssn payments reduced?
    does someone who wins the publisher’s clearinghouse $1000-per-week-for-life jackpot have their ssn payments reduced?
    just because i have an additional source of retirement payments, that doesn’t mean i didn’t also earn what anyone else in america did, and should be paid in full.

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  • November 1, 2019 at 2:37 pm
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    I spent 20 years in the military then went to work for the Ohio department of Corrections and was in a motorcycle accident and had to take a medical retirement with 10 years in the department now that I applied for social security I found out that it would be cut not what I planned on .

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  • November 1, 2019 at 2:45 pm
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    Thank you Matt Overturf for doing whatever you can.

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  • November 1, 2019 at 7:20 pm
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    Thank you Opers for your help. Hazel Mcgraw

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  • November 2, 2019 at 10:57 am
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    A contrary opinion.

    The WEP seems to be a fair proration And I am also affected by WEP and still maintain this point of view.

    PERS does the same exact time~prorate the benefit based on years of service and contributions. Even under PERS, the person working 25 years for the State does not get the same pension as that person who works 32 years for the State. We cannot expect SS to be any different.

    Sure, I understand that someone that works 13 years paying SS wants the same benefit as the person who worked for 40 years under just SS. Yes, you are vested with 40 quarters, but not at the same level of benefits as a person with more time in any retirement plan. It does not work that way with SS and it does not work that way for PERS.

    I am thankful for PERS, even with the WEP offset. I do not see the law being passed as the people who administer these programs know the same thing I am stating.

    Sorry folks, it is not what you want to hear. It is fair based on your prorated contribution and that is why it has never been changed to the contrary.

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  • November 2, 2019 at 4:39 pm
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    Thank You Matt Overturf for everything that you do. I worked for 40 years in the private sector and can’t tell you how much this would mean to us for the extra monthly money. Please do whatever you can to help us.
    Thanks again

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  • November 6, 2019 at 3:15 pm
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    I appreciate that this is being pursued. It was a rude awakening for me when I realized how little I would receive from Social Security after working equally in both systems. I feel punished for choosing a different career path. Not fair!

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  • November 7, 2019 at 11:01 am
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    Social Security should not be means tested. if you contributed enough to earn a benefit you should receive it regardless of any other income. Social Security does not reduce the benefit for any other group even if you are a billionaire and they should not. However, until Congress decides to solve the long term funding issues facing this program I doubt issue that relates to people with public pensions will be resolved. They will be hesitant to add more people that will receive a benefit.

    Reply

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