I am a retired federal employee writing to raise awareness of the devastating effects of the Windfall Elimination Provision, or WEP, experienced by nearly 2 million people. This policy reduces the earned Social Security benefits of local, state and federal retirees who worked in Social Security-covered private-sector employment, and who also earned an annuity from their non-Social Security covered government employment.

The WEP can result in a monthly Social Security benefit that is $498 lower than deserved, causing undue financial distress.

Why should we be penalized for working hard for our country?

Additionally, spouses are feeling the burden of the Government Pension Offset, or GPO, a similar penalty, which prevents them from collecting the Social Security benefits their spouses earned from private-sector jobs due to their public service. The GPO affects 716,662 beneficiaries, 47% of which are widows or widowers, and 83% of whom are women.

We rightfully earned these benefits in exchange for our dedication and hard work to the nation, and, as such, I am inviting other retirees affected by the WEP and GPO to join me in calling on Congress to repeal these unfair provisions. It’s past time to stop punishing us for our public service and allow for us to collect what we rightfully earned.