Educators urge Congress to protect their Social Security

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By The Staff

Campbellsville Middle School social studies teacher Elise Mohon was tapped last week to go to Washington, D.C. as part of a five-member team from Kentucky to lobby legislators and attend the House Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing on behalf of venerable beneficiaries of Social Security.

The goal of the group is to eliminate the unfair treatment of certain public employees, including public school teachers, in the 15 states that are affected by the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision of the current Social Security act.

"These two provisions prevent certain public employees from collecting benefits they have earned just because we retire in a separate retirement fund. We are not asking for anything we did not earn; we just want to be treated like other citizens," Mohon said. "It is also my fear that this will be another reason for not being able to recruit quality teachers, especially those that are considering teaching as a second career."

Mohon, who currently serves as KEA's Fourth District president, visited the offices of the Representatives and Senators representing Kentucky explaining how these two provisions affect Kentucky employees. She was able to provide first person information as a widow of a fully vested spouse and as a future retiree who is fully vested in Social Security herself.

"The amount I am denied would probably cover my house payment (we had built a new house shortly before my husband became ill)."

"Representative Ron Lewis serves on this House Subcommittee. He has been supportive of getting this legislation changed and continues to work on these issues. All the other representatives from Kentucky are also supporters. Senator Bunning and Senator McConnell currently do not support us," Mohon said.

NEA President Reg Weaver summed up the importance of reform: "This is an issue of fairness, justice and respect. If Congress is serious about encouraging professionals from the private sector to answer the call to teach, it must repeal these offsets. This is about respecting our public school educators enough to assure them a secure retirement."

The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

Anyone interested in obtaining more information on these issues or wishing to contact their legislators can find links at www.kea.org and www.nea.org.