A large group of SFCRTA’s retirees gathered on April 7 at St. Mary’s Church hall in Norwalk for an informative Power Point presentation led by Benjamin Rhodes III, a Social Security specialist for the CT area. Mr. Rhodes gave a comprehensive review of the current Social Security laws which unfortunately impact adversely on CT teachers as well as teachers in fourteen other states. The laws in question are the GPO (Government Pension Offset) and WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision.) The GPO affects members who apply for spousal benefits based on their husband’s or wife’s work record. The WEP affects members who apply for their own SS benefits based on their own work. In both of these laws, benefits are eliminated or reduced unless certain exceptions are satisfied. (A more in-depth explanation is readily available on the internet.) There are bills pending in Congress to end this injustice. Senator Blumenthal, our own CT senator has not signed on to the Senate bill.
Mr. Rhodes took part in a lively exchange with members regarding these provisions. His explanation and responses were forthright but only helped to emphasize the fact that any change in these provisions can only take place with legislative action and support from those of us who are affected by these laws. If you care, call or write your congressman/congresswoman and work for action to repeal the GPO and WEP.