Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WEP and GPO keep some Louisiana retiree pensions below poverty level

Up to 30 percent of retirees from the two largest State Employee Retirement Systems would be living under the federal poverty line if relying solely on pension benefits.

The 2008 U.S. federal poverty levels are $10,400 a year for a single person household and $14,000 a year for a two-person household.

Officials with the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana, called TRSL, and Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System, called LASERS, said they do not know how many retirees survive on pensions alone.

Louisiana is one of seven states where state employees do not typically participate in Social Security. If employees receive Social Security benefits from other jobs or spousal employment, the benefits could be reduced because of federal restrictions.

LASERS Executive Director Cindy Rougeou said she believes attempts to repeal the federal restrictions — called the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset — stall in the U.S. Congress because of an estimated $80 billion price tag.

“But, as you know, that’s like a drop in the bucket,” Rougeou said. “It’s just negatively impacting so many state retirees and so unfairly.”

2 comments:

mikel said...

We are among the state retirees being "negatively impacted" by this grossly unfair restriction. Who do we appeal to, & what can be done to get Congress to finally act on repealing the WEP?

Michael Meaux said...

The biggest roadblock to the repeal of the WEP and GPO is the cost to the federal treasury estimated at 80 billion dollars. I would contact your US congressman and senator to request their support in the repeal of the WEP and GPO.