JANUARY 1998 - To
assist our members who have been hurt by the Social Security government
pension offset (GPO), the Association has added its name – and strength
– to a coalition of unions and other organizations that are seeking
relief from the GPO. The Association is now a member of the Coalition
to Assure Retirement Equity (CARE), which is spearheaded by the
National Association of Retired Federal Employees (NARFE).

look forward to working with NARFE and the other CARE members on the
pension offset problem that affects more and more members who recently
retired,” says Legislative Chairman Bill Hill. “An issue, like the GPO,
that is national in scope, calls for a network of interested parties
throughout the country.”

important to remember that the GPO, originally enacted in 1977 and
amended since then, does not impact all public retirees who receive SS
benefits as a spouse. Any retiree, who was receiving (or eligible to
receive) a pension before December 1982 and satisfied all the
requirements for SS spousal benefits in effect in January 1977, is
exempt from the GPO. Also, any retiree, who was receiving (or eligible
to receive) a pension before July 1, 1983 and one-half support from
their spouse, is not affected by the GPO.

Bills Alive In 105th Congress

was a major supporter of the pension offset reform bill (H.R. 2273),
introduced by Representative William Jefferson (D-LA) in the 105th
Congress. We reported extensively on this bill in the November Voice.

then, a companion bill (S.1365) has been introduced in the Senate by
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). The Senate bill mirrors its House
companion but also includes a “hold harmless” provision so that no one
gets less than the current GPO law provides.

introduced, the Jefferson bill would have the unintended result that
retirees, eligible for the highest SS spousal benefits, would receive
less that they would under the current GPO law. Sen. Mikulski’s bill
would pay the higher amount figured under both the old and, if enacted,
new law.

House proponents of the
Jefferson bill are aware of the technical problem and will correct it
when it reaches the “mark up” stage in the Ways and Means Social
Security Subcommittee. While the Congress has completed the first year
of its 105th session, both reform bills are alive for the second year
of this session. The push for enactment will begin when the 105th
Congress resumes sometime at the end of this month.

Richard Neal (Springfield), who sits on the important House
subcommittee, will be focusing his energies in that regard.
“Surviving spouses could greatly use the relief provided under the
Jefferson bill. As a co-sponsor of this bill and a member of the Ways
and Means Social Security Subcommittee, I will work diligently to
closely monitor H.R. 2273 as it progresses through the legislative
process,” said Neal.