More Resources on GPO-WEP
It is important to note that after 30 years of substantial earnings, paying into Social Security, one is no longer subject to GPO-WEP. At 20 years in Social Security you can begin to reduce the impact of WEP by 10% a year. For further details see the Social Security Administration WEP fact sheet and check out the WEP calculator to estimate potential impacts.
For an overall primer of GPO-WEP read these Social Security Offset FAQs from NEA:
Alaska GPO-WEP FAQ
Alaska TRS 3 and PERS 4 are both defined contribution retirements, why does PERS 4 and TRS 3 qualify as a “pension” from the perspective of the IRS for the purposes of GPO-WEP?
The following answer is from a staff person to the US House Ways and Means Committee. They referenced the following two of the Social Security Administration’s Program Operations Manual System (POMS) that appeared to provide guidance on why a Defined Contribution retirement is subject to GPO-WEP.
NEA Alaska Question:
The GPO-WEP is intended to reduce Social Security benefits for workers receiving a pension. However, since Alaska has a DC plan, would it be considered or qualify as a “pension” for the purposes of GPO-WEP?
Yes, the DC plan would quality as a pension (RS 0605.360, Section B.1):
“A pension is a periodic or lump sum payment from an employer’s retirement or disability plan, based on employer and/or employee contributions and based on eligibility factors such as age, length of service or earnings. Payments from either defined benefit (DB) or defined contribution (DC) plans may be considered pensions for WEP purposes. For a pension to cause WEP, the payment must be based on earnings for service that were not covered by Social Security. (For additional specific and additional guidance on DC plans, see RS 00605.360 – Section B.1 and C.1. RS 00605.364 – Section A.2. RS 00605.364A.3. and RS 00605.364B.1.)”
Repealing or fixing the GPO-WEP requires federal legislation.
NEA and NEA-Alaska have been advocating for a full repeal of both the GPO and WEP for over 20 years. Almost 20 years ago, NEA-Alaska President Tim Parker remembers meeting with US Senator Ted Stevens and Senator Stevens saying something to the effect of : “that is a wildly expensive problem – even I can’t get that fully repealed”
The estimated cost of fully repealing the GPO-WEP is $80 – $90 billion over 10 years. The cost of a partial repeal ( HR 4540) is around $33 billion.
HR 4540 is an effort to reduce the impact of the WEP by reducing the maximum penalty so that current retirees could receive up to $150 more a month and future retirees could receive up to $75.
NEA-Alaska continues to advocate for a repeal of GPO-WEP and is actively working with our federal delegation to explore an appeal of IRS interpretations or other avenues to try and reduce the impact of GPO-WEP.