NARFE PRAISES SENATE SCRUTINY OF THE GPO-WEP
November 6, 2007
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Jill Crissman 703-838-7760
Margaret L. Baptiste, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), today lauded
Senator John Kerry (D-MA) for holding a hearing to examine the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination
Provision (WEP) of the Social Security Act, that deny federal retirees and other public servants their earned Social Security
Speaking at a press conference on Capitol Hill, Baptiste reiterated her association's long-standing opposition to the
offsets. "Senator Kerry deserves our thanks for using his position as the Chairman of the Social Security, Pensions,
and Family Policy Subcommittee to review policies undermining the earned retirement benefits of more than a million public
servants," declared Baptiste.
Since 1983 the GPO has prevented retirees from collecting both their federal annuity and any Social Security benefit
based on their spouses' work. Two-thirds of the amount of the earned civil service retirement annuity is used to offset whatever
Social Security spousal or survivor benefits that might otherwise have been payable.
The WEP reduces the earned Social Security benefit of a federal worker who also receives a government annuity based
on his/her own work.
Hundreds of thousands of federal civil servants and other public retirees lose as much as half of their own earned social
security income as a result of the WEP, and many annuitants are affected by both offsets. Baptiste called the GPO and WEP
"unfair and unconscionable."
Recent data indicates approximately 401,200 Social Security beneficiaries affected by the GPO, of whom about 75 percent
were women, approximately 42 percent were widowed, and 85% had lost their entire Social Security benefit.
The data also showed roughly 971,300 Social Security beneficiaries affected by the WEP. About two-thirds were men, and
20% of affected individuals had paid into Social Security for at least 21 years.
NARFE has long led a campaign to rid the Social Security Law of the GPO and WEP provisions. The association chairs the
Coalition to Assure Retirement Equity (CARE), comprised of over 40 national organizations representing public sector retirees
that support changes in the GPO and WEP. “For far too long the GPO and WEP have devastated the income security of
many former federal workers," said Baptiste. "It is time for Congress to act to rid the law of these discriminatory
provisions," she asserted.
NARFE, one of America's oldest and largest associations, was founded in 1921 with the mission of protecting the earned
rights and benefits of America's active and retired federal workers. The largest federal employee/ retiree organization, NARFE
represents the retirement interests of nearly 5 million current and future federal annuitants, spouses, and survivors.