PERAC Forum Spotlights WEP/GPO Fight

PERAC Forum Spotlights WEP/GPO Fight

Mass Retirees Addresses 300 Retirement Officials 

SEPTEMBER 14, 2018: An important aspect of Mass Retirees’ advocacy efforts to reform the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) laws is to educate the public, as well as policy makers, as to the unfairness and negative impact of the two federal laws. 

Thursday marked the 14thAnnual Emerging Issues Forum, hosted at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, by the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC). The state agency, which is responsible for retirement system regulation and oversight, also spearheads continuing education efforts for retirement system board members and staff.

This year’s PERAC Forum dedicated a full segment to discussion of WEP & GPO, including a history of why and how the two laws came to be and what steps are underway in Washington, D.C. to pass reform legislation. The discussion was led by Mass Retirees Legislative Director Shawn Duhamel, Sean Neilon, Deputy Executive Director of the Teachers Retirement Board, and Stephen Richardson, Social Security’s Interim Regional Communications Director.

“The history behind the WEP & GPO laws and why they were created by Congress and President Reagan back in 1983 are very important in terms of passing reform legislation today. The Social Security Administration does a very good job in explaining the facts, including how the laws are applied to current retirees,” said Duhamel. “We know that the only way WEP and GPO relief will be approved by Congress is through our continued advocacy.

“We want to thank PERAC for including this important topic, as well as inviting Mass Retirees to participate. Being able to join with both Social Security and the Teachers Retirement System to inform our retirement policy leaders on these issues is important.”

See the September 2018 edition of the Voice for the latest information on efforts to pass WEP reform legislation.

In addition to the annual Emerging Issues Forum, PERAC hosts a series of educational seminars for retirement board members and staff. State law requires public retirement board members to partake in ongoing continuing education each year.