APWU Retirees Still Fighting for Justice

Nancy Olumekor

July 9, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the July/August 2021 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

Eliminate the WEP and GPO

This year, as we have done in the past, retirees recognize the anniversary of Social Security, created in August 1935, and Medicare, which was signed into law in July 1965.

Current retirees who worked in the post office when the Post Office Department became the USPS in 1971, as well as most of those hired before 1984, are not reaping the full retirement benefits that they paid for during their working life. Many of these retirees also paid into Social Security. They are not celebrating the anniversary of Social Security; these retirees are still waiting for Congress to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) enacted in 1983 and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) enacted in 1977.

The WEP and GPO adversely effected millions of retired federal, state and local public servants. This group of former workers paid the same rate into Social Security as non-WEP or GPO workers paid, yet their Social Security benefits are greatly reduced.

According to the Social Security Administration, as of December 2020, 1.9 million Social Security beneficiaries are affected by WEP and 716,662 Social Security beneficiaries are affected by GPO – over 2.6 million people.

Congress needs to act now to pass the Social Security Fairness Act, which will repeal the WEP and GPO. Call your congressional representatives and your senators, ask them to cosponsor and vote for H.R. 82 and S. 1032.

The Caregiving Crisis

There is a crisis facing America. It is projected that by 2030, all baby boomers will be older than 65 and older Americans will make up 21 percent of the population. By 2060 nearly 25 percent of Americans will be 65 years and older, the number of 85-plus will triple, and the country will add a half-million centenarians. Older Americans are projected to outnumber children under age 18 for the first time in U.S. history by 2034, according to Census Bureau projections.

“The mismatch between old and young will have implications across the coming years,” said Dr. Grace Whiting, president and CEO of the National Alliance of Caregivers, in an article on census.gov. “We aren’t having enough children to take care of us in our old age,” she said. Her concern points to the increasing need for caregiver and health services for people over age 65. Older Americans want to age in place, receive in-home care, personal and assisted-living from caregivers.

To ensure we live independently, the cost of the many resources available to seniors aging at home needs to drive the public policies that will establish quality and comprehensive caregivers, and long-term care insurance legislation.

Plan to Attend the APWU Retirees
Conference on Zoom – Sept. 27-29, 2021

The following classes will be held for retirees: Aging Resources, Alzheimer Disease, Communicating with Your Legislative Representatives, Fighting Fraud, Heart Health & Fitness and How to Write a Chapter Newsletter. In addition, we will have presentations on Social Security, Medicare, OPM and legislative issues during the Retiree Department general sessions.

For those members who want information on retirement, we will have classes on Retirement Planning for CSRS and FERS Employees and TSP from A to Z on Monday, Sept. 27. Information on how to register for any classes offered as well as the general sessions is available on apwu.org.

Join the APWU Retirees Department online on the “Members Only” page. Dues are $3.00 monthly.

If you are planning to retire and have questions contact us by email at RetireeQandA@apwu.org. Send all other inquiries for the Retirees Department to retiree2@apwu.org.

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