What do you do for a living? Its a common question, and when individuals say they are public servants, they often get a common reply: Government jobs offer great benefits.

Its true that a public sector job offers an individual a variety of health plans and retirement options. One thing many government workers do not realize, however, is that they may have higher retirement expectations than they should because of the current social security law. Many are shocked to find their social security benefits are lower than anticipated and in some cases nonexistent.
Its pretty much common knowledge that most government workers do not pay into social security because they have their own separate retirement system. Some, however, have worked in the private sector at one point in their lives and have paid into social security. Others have spouses who work in the private sector and pay into social security. What isn’t common knowledge is that these individuals social security benefits will be reduced because of their public retirement pensions.

There is federal legislation being debated that could change that. Senate Bill 1523 and House Bill 2638 will amend Title II of the Social Security Act to repeal the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision. These two conditions in the current law reduce pension benefits specifically for federal, state and local government employees.

The Windfall Elimination Provision reduces social security payments to people who spend most of their working lives in government jobs but who have also worked in the private sector. These individuals social security payments are reduced even when they have worked in private industry long enough to qualify for full retirement or disability benefits.

When a government employee has a spouse who works in the private sector and pays into the social security system, the Government Pension Offset lowers the amount of social security benefits that are paid to that government employee. By current law, a government employees social security payments are reduced by two-thirds of his or her own pension check. As a result, the social security benefit is often eliminated altogether.

Social security benefit statements do not calculate the Government Pension Offset or Windfall Elimination Provision. Many government workers factor in social security benefits while planning for their retirement only to find out the hard way that they will not receive the amount they expect.

Any relief for these citizens is essential, because the current law imposes large reductions in the already strained pension benefits of public servants. Im calling on Louisianas congressional delegation to support Senate Bill 1523 and House Bill 2638 for the benefit of government workers at all levels.