Ask The Lawyer

By Debra Roth

Are GPO and WEP Discretionary?

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.

Q:

Each year, federal employee organizations propose the elimination of the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), and each year approximately 350-400 members of Congress cosponsor legislation to abolish this discriminatory law, but that’s where it ends.

I feel the GPO law is also discriminatory as it prevents retirees from collecting both their federal annuity and any Social Security benefit based on their spouse’s work.

Have the GPO and WEP provisions been challenged under the anti-discrimination laws?

A:

Both the anti-discrimination laws and the GPO and WEP are federal statutes. They are interpreted so that both apply. Since GPO and WEP authorize lower benefit payments, it is not discrimination.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

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Comments

  1. Martin p Says:
    December 8th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    No more petitions for change! Enough is enough! It’s time to sue the U.S. government and force a repeal of the unfair WEP and GPO laws.

    I’m one of the people who’s had his EARNED Social Security benefits cut by 60% due to this nation’s unfair WEP and GPO laws (actually a hidden tax on hundreds of thousands of seniors.) Then, if you add my federal, state and local taxes, I’m paying well over 70% per year in taxes. Now the needy bell-ringing charities are trying to guilt me into giving to them what little the government has permitted me to keep. At the same time, our smiling president – that same person who plans to spend 4 million dollars of taxpayer money on his next vacation and over 100 million just for his inauguration – is completely happy to take us over the fiscal cliff. Well, who cares? As far as hundreds of thousands of seniors like myself are concerned, we went over that cliff a long time ago.

    The government has refused to even vote on any bill to repeal WEP and GPO, tying up bills in committee for the last 30 years. Things are never going to change until we join together and create a class action suit against the government.

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