On Tuesday, November 6, the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions and Family Policy will conduct a hearing entitled, “GPO and WEP: Policies Affecting Pensions from Work Not Covered by Social Security.” Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) chairs the subcommittee and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) is the Ranking Republican.
As retired Postmasters know all too well, the Social Security Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) can have a devastating financial impact on Postmasters who participate in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). Individuals, who would ordinarily be eligible for a Social Security survivor benefit or a Social Security annuity from non-governmental employment, receive a paltry benefit or none at all, simply because they are CSRS participants. NAPUS President Dale Goff desired that a retired Postmaster from Sen. Kerry’s home state, and who has been impacted by the GPO and/or the WEP to offer testimony on behalf of NAPUS. Consequently, President Goff asked outgoing Massachusetts NAPUS-Retired Chapter Secretary-Treasurer Greta Cofield to offer testimony on behalf of Postmasters. Greta is the retired Postmaster of Framingham, Massachusetts, and was stripped of her Social Security survivor’s benefit as the result of her participation in the CSRS.
It is unclear what plans the Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), has for GPO and WEP. Three bills are currently pending before the Committee. Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced S. 206, which calls for repeal of both GPO and WEP. Presently, S. 206 has 34 cosponsors. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and George Voinovich (R-OH) introduced S. 1254, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) introduced S. 1647. These two bills, in different ways, modify the WEP formula.
As reported in the July 27, 2007, edition of the eNAPUS Legislative & Political Bulletin, House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) requested Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Michael McNulty (D-NY) to conduct a GPO and WEP hearing during the 110th Congress. Although Chairman McNulty has yet to schedule the hearing, NAPUS anticipates that the hearing will take place in early 2008. During the summer, President Goff asked retired Postmaster Frances Rosenfeld of Albany, NY, to be the NAPUS liaison to Rep. McNulty on GPO and WEP. Frances was Postmaster of Great Neck, NY, and is a constituent of Rep. McNulty. She has known the Congressman since he was first elected, in 1988.