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NEA Issue Explainer

Retirement Security

Educators in some states are denied Social Security benefits they’ve earned. NEA is pushing to end this injustice by enacting federal legislation.
NEA-Retired Members at NEA's Annual Meeting Gerald Lillard
Published: December 2, 2021
This issue explainer originally appeared on

More than 2.5 million people dedicated to public service, including many educators, have their Social Security benefits reduced—or lose them entirely—due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO).

  • The WEP reduces the Social Security benefits of people who work in jobs covered by Social Security and jobs NOT covered by Social Security over the course of their careers—for example, educators compelled to take part-time or summer jobs to make ends meet.
  • The GPO reduces—or eliminates—the Social Security spousal or survivor benefits of people who also get a pension based on federal, state, or local government employment NOT covered by Social Security.

Help ensure that educators get the Social Security benefits they’ve earned. Ask Congress to fully repeal both the GPO and WEP. 

Helpful Resources


WEP Calculator

If you are expecting to receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, it may reduce the amount of Social Security benefits we can pay you.

GPO Calculator

The Government Pension Offset, or GPO, affects spouses, widows, and widowers with pensions from a federal, state, or local government job. It reduces their Social Security benefits in some cases.
NEA-Retired members attend a meeting

Talking Points

These bullet points break down GPO and WEP and the bills that would repeal them.

Speak Up For Students and Public Schools

When we act together and lift our voices together in unison, we can improve the lives of children.
Members march down the street wearing red and carrying signs.

Together we're stronger. Together we're heard.

You belong in the movement! Join today to belong to the movement of educators and school staff fighting for the pay and working conditions we all deserve.

Keeping the Promise of Quality Public Education

The Oregon Education Association (OEA) is a union committed to the cause of providing the basic right of great public education to every student. OEA represents about 41,000 educators working in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 public schools and community colleges. OEA’s membership includes licensed teachers and specialists, classified/education support professionals (ESPs), community college faculty, retired educators, and student members. OEA members also belong to the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association (NEA).