A Top Priority for California FOP

Tom Dominguez, president of the Assoc. of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, FOP Lodge 18.
Tom Dominguez, president of the Assoc. of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, FOP Lodge 18.

As a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, CA-FOP Lodge 18 (AOCDS) is strongly supporting HR 711, the “Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act,” which would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and replace it with a more equitable and individualized calculation of Social Security benefits. The bill is sponsored by Congressman Kevin P. Brady (R-Texas). Repealing the WEP and the Government Pension Offset, are legislative priorities for the Fraternal Order of Police and it’s more than 330,000 members.

This is an issue of fairness.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU: If you had a job which required you to pay into Social Security prior to becoming a law enforcement officer OR you plan to have a job which requires you to pay into Social Security following your law enforcement career you will lose up to 60% of your Social Security Benefit. H.R. 711 will correct that inequity and ensure you receive the Social Security benefit which you helped fund and to which you are entitled.

The Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset rules were enacted in 1983 as part of comprehensive Social Security reform law. Congress approved the provisions to prevent what was perceived as “a windfall” for people who worked at a job not covered by Social Security &nd ash; such as public employees—and who also held other jobs where they paid Social Security taxes long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits.

The WEP drastically reduces the Social Security benefit earned by a worker. The GPO is a related provision that reduces Social Security benefits paid to spouses or survivors when the spouse or survivor earned a pension from a government job that was not covered by Social Security.

The WEP has created a significant issue for public employees—notably law enforcement officers—who retire from public service earlier than many other employees and take another job which requires them to pay into Social Security. Police officers who chose to have a second career are now faced with a 60% reduction in their Social Security benefits. They paid into the system and they should be entitled to the full benefits they earned.

Congressman Brady’s legislation repeals the WEP and would require benefits be calculated using the standard Social Security benefit formula. The Social Security benefit would be multiplied by the percentage of wages subject to Social Security taxes, ensuring that only wages earned while paying into Social Security would be counted toward the benefit.
The WEP and the GPO have been a priority for CA-FOP Lodge 18 (AOCDS) and we have lobbied our representatives in Washington repeatedly to address these important issues. We applaud Congressman Brady’s much-needed efforts to correct this inequity and stand with the rest of our brothers and sisters of the Fraternal Order of Police in support of H.R. 711, the “Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act.”

Thank you.

– Tom Dominguez

10 comments

REPEAL: WEP & GPO for TEACHERS, firefighters and POLICE OFFICERS !!! As you know, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has introduced a new bill, S.1651, that would repeal both the GPO and the WEP. This bill will be a companion to Rodney Davis’ House bill, HR 973. Please join the 11 Senators who have signed on as original sponsors. My future retirement depends on these 2 repeals!

I grew up in poverty in Kansas. I worked very low paying jobs starting at Dairy Queen when I was 16 until 1988 when I started teaching. I paid my own way through college. I got a Masters Degree as a Reading Specialist. I paid off all student loans. I have never collected unemployment. I will start my 24th year as a Title 1 Reading teacher in a Missouri elementary school. Every day, I witness 450 students getting FREE bus service, FREE breakfast, FREE books/supplies, FREE lunch, FREE tutoring and FREE parental involvement activities. I paid for EVERYTHING that my 2 daughters needed for school, including their college educations at KState and KU. I was my mother-in-law’s caregiver. I took care of my sick husband for 4 years. He just passed away. When I went to Social Security, I was terribly distressed! I have paid NEA dues for 24 years. I am a member of PSRS and eligible to retire today using the Rule of 80 formula. NEA, PSRS, my school district and Social Security statement never informed or prepared me and my husband for WEP and GPO! I can’t retire today!!! As I looked at my husband’s Social Security statement online, I assumed that as his widow, I would start receiving half of his $2,000 spousal benefit. The first time I went to SS, a representative gave me wrong information. I made an appointment and talked for an hour with another SS representative who gave me 3 different scenarios concerning benefits. Totally confusing! As it stands, I will not be entitled to my personal benefit of $550 per month at age 62 because of WEP. I will only get $250. Who gets my other $300? As it stands, I will not be entitled to the $1,000 per month spousal benefit at age 62 because GPO thinks my PSRS pension will be more than adequate. Who gets my husband’s $86,000 from his career ….he left it for his family? Who gets to keep my spousal benefit? I need to pay bills! Oh, my SS statement states that I don’t have enough credits for disability. That’s because of my low paying wages as a young adult. As a senior citizen, my PSRS pension will not be adequate! I’ve never imagined that someone would accuse me of “double-dipping”. I’m almost 59. I have bad knees. I want to retire now. I’m a widow who wants to leave behind a small inheritance for my 2 daughters. But my pension would be $3,700 a month…I have to take 15% tax out, that’s $3,700 – $555…then I have to have insurance at $780 for me and my daughter…that leaves $2,365 per month…but my monthly budget for living in my nice family home is $3,000. I want to spend money and spur on the American economy. I don’t want to leave the Middle Class and live in poverty again. I want to retire in comfort and be able to afford assisted-care if needed. I want to save money, not count my pennies! I don’t want to downsize and live on a fixed-income. I have worked too hard being a productive citizen, raising a family and teaching kids how to read. It is totally Un-American to be subjected to WEP and GPO!!!
PLEASE…REPEAL…WEP and GPO! God bless America! Sincerely, Pam Brauer

i stand with you in support of HB 711. It is grossly unfair to reduce our Social Security benefit, that we earned and paid for, solely because we also served our state or municipality and the citizens of those states and municipalities and received a pension as a result of that service. We also paid for the pension we received. This is unlike those in the private sector, who many receive a pension, 401k (with company matching funds), and a full social security benefit. We ask for only what WE earned and paid for.

It’s not right to pay into something for benefits and then not receive the benefits. Sound like a forced donation or robbery to me.

As a retired (2013) Lieutenant in Connecticut, I would be interested in any follow-up information. I had accumulated sufficient quarters prior to my thirty-five years in law enforcement and am currently working at a job where Social Security is deducted.

i get 500 per month should be 1175 so needless to say I’m in how can I help and get those greedy bastards to give me what’s mine

More BS out of Washington. The WEP, first sponsored by Diane Feinstein, has been kicked around for a long time, If you think Washington is going to correct this abominable rip-off, think again. Clearly retirees are a low priority. They prefer giving billions to our enemies, at the expense of working-class Americans. They’ve had their chance many times over, yet nothing has changed–and it won’t. Congress hath no balls. These guys remain focused on their reelection and self-aggrandizement, and everything else takes a back seat.

We support you here in San Jose Ca – Let us know what further the SJPOA can do for the cause…

I paid into Social Security for 18 years prior to my 18 and counting in law enforcement. This is common sense legislation especially with the attacks on government pensions.

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