Widow, 80, seeks help from Rep. Westmoreland

I mailed the letter below to Congressman Westmoreland, Senator Chambliss and Senator Isakson.

Mr. Westmoreland, when I retired in 2000 at the age of 68 from the United States Post Office, I thought I was eligible to receive my deceased husband’s Social Security in addition to my government pension.

However, I found out about the Government Pension Offset (GPO) which cut my survivor benefits by two-thirds.

Not only did I lose money since 2000, but each time I have received a cost of living raise through my pension, the Social Security Administration has tried to decrease my benefits.

Estimates indicate that nine out of 10 public employees affected by the GPO lose most of their spousal benefits, even though deceased spouses paid Social Security taxes all their lives. I would like for you to strike this law from the books.

The GPO has the harshest impact on those who can least afford the loss; these are lower-income women. The application of this provision has a severe impact on my financial security as an 80-year-old retiree who has spent most of my working career serving the public.

I realize members of Congress have introduced anti-GPO and/or anti-Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) legislation. However, congressional leaders failed to bring bills to the floor for a vote; they failed to repeal these negative laws.

My husband worked all his life, and I worked many years without any help from anyone, and I want to stay independent and take care of myself. Please take the necessary legislative action now to repeal this Government Pension Offset, so that I can earn my full spousal Social Security benefit instead of it being a benefit of one-third what it should be.

Repealing this unfair law (GPO) will help thousands of retired Americans remain independent. Like many other retired Americans I believe in working for a dollar instead of sitting back with my hand held out. Congressman Westmoreland, please help me remain independent and repeal the Government Pension Offset.

Blanche L. Regeon

Fayetteville, Ga.