I paid into Social Security for 18 years and today they just handed me a bill for $59 a month.


Next month I turn 70.

At 65 I suspended my Social Security benefit until 70 so that I would receive the largest benefit amount possible.

Today I walked over to the Social Security office and filed to restore my benefit starting next month.

Because I retired six years ago from teaching, I receive my Teacher Retirement System pension for which I paid 9.4% from my paycheck every month for 30 years.

From the age of 16 to the age of 34 I paid into Social Security.

That would be 18 years that I paid into Social Security.

If I now received the benefit amount I earned based on the 18 years I and my employers paid into the Social Security system I would receive $719 a month.

Instead I will write a check to the Social Security system each month for $59. That’s the amount required to pay the balance of my Part B Medicare premium.

After 18 years of paying into a retirement system I will end up writing them a check!

The reductions stem from two little-known rules: the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO).

If Anne should die before me (won’t happen) I receive no spousal death benefits.

It’s a rip-off of teachers and others who receive state pensions and who paid for years into Social Security.

33 thoughts on “I paid into Social Security for 18 years and today they just handed me a bill for $59 a month.

  1. I worked for 20 years as a teacher and then went overseas. My Social Security is around $89 a month. It all goes towards Medicare but doesn’t cover the full cost. I had to pay $570 each of the last two years to get Medicare. I probably will have to pay more as the cost of Medicare continues to rise an SS doesn’t.

    I hate to think of how much I’ll have to pay for insurance if Illinois stops subsidizing our health care.

    1. Our lawyers are convinced that any reduction in the state subsidy of our health insurance is a violation of the pension protection clause of the state constitution. I think so too. And so will the Supreme Court.

      1. Fred: I read that. Hope you, the Illinois Supreme Court and our lawyers are right. It’s disgusting that Illinois refuses to come up with a tax plan that is progressive. Financial transactions also need to be taxed.

  2. Hi Fred,

    Not only do people not know about this, they don’t believe you when you do tell them about it. Most folks think it’s so unfair that I can’t possibly be correct!

    I assure them them it’s my livelihood and that I most certainly have investigated all the details. I then give them suggestions as to where they investigate themselves if they would like to. I doubt few people do….

    Carol May

    I worked outside education until I was 39


  3. Sorry to hear about it, Fred. Like you, I worked outside of the educational system prior to becoming a teacher. SS would send me letters annually stating that if you retired today you would receive about $650 per month. I took my SS early. When I visited the SS office that $650 was reduced to about $240 per month. The lady explained that it was the WEP that reduced the amount I was quoted in those annual letters. Several years later, I had to obtain Plan B when my wife finally retired and I was no longer covered under her plan. The cost of Plan B left me with a little over $40 per month from SS. Not as bad as your hit, but it still sucks. Most of my fellow retired teachers often refer to the WEP as the “Teacher Penalty”. It’s totally unfair. Under whose administration was the WEP enacted?

      1. There is a law stating that women will get half of their husband’s Social Security if they have been married for at least 10 years. My ex was a teacher. He was supposed to get $200 a month but it was reduced to $100 a month because of his pension from TRS. That meant that I could get $50 from him. Since I was already getting around $89 a month, I got nothing from his years of work.

        It’s another teacher pension theft.

      2. I think Rostenkowski (sp) had something to do with it for IL. I believe former military were encouraged to go into teaching and other pension related jobs only to find WEP kicking in for them.

      3. I believe this ripoff was spearheaded by Ronald Reagan, out of his lifelong hatred for education, students, and especially teachers…

  4. I turn 66 in September and can start collecting $1358 a month from SS even though I will still be working full-time. When I retire, they will cut it to about $900 a month. What sense does that make?

  5. I’ll be in a similar boat in some ways, having worked in the private sector from age 16 to 36 and for CPS thereafter. I believe we pay into medicare as CPS teachers even though we can’t participate in Social Security, so I hope I won’t be paying in after I retire, but I will have my SS reduced and get no spousal benefit. Windfall, my butt.

  6. Fred, if only you were elected to the House, then Senate, then the County Board like Cronin you could collect all 3 pensions.
    Or come here illegally and you could get SS benefits without even ever paying into it.

    1. Chuck, your claim of undocumented immigrants receiving SS benefits is not supported by fact. Quite the opposite. Because they are undocumented, unknown numbers pay into Social Security without any hope of collecting benefits because of their status. Give me any evidence of the contrary.

  7. Nothing new here. And, despite our politicians “saying” that they support our quest to get out from under these SS penalties, NOTHING EVERY HAPPENS.

  8. Just windfall elimination provision, Fred. Your wife will be affected by general pension offset. My district paid into social security for summer school and coaching in the summer. So we could earn two quarters every summer and I get a check every month for $72 which I have beeb getting ever month since I was 62. Looking forward to seeing you Wednesday, Bob

    From: Fred Klonsky Reply-To: Fred Klonsky Date: Monday, May 14, 2018 at 1:55 PM To: Bob Lyons Subject: [New post] I paid into Social Security for 18 years and today they just handed me a bill for $59 a month.

    WordPress.com Fred Klonsky posted: ” Next month I turn 70. At 65 I suspended my Social Security benefit until 70 so that I would receive the largest benefit amount possible. Today I walked over to the Social Security office and file for my benefit. Because I retired six years ago from t”

  9. Fred, you should be quite pleased that your social security money now goes toward food stamps etc for those people you support. You only have yourself to blame. Don’t feel sorry for you. In fact I wish you would pay more!

    1. I would be happy if it went to pay for food stamps for hungry people. You probably don’t know that Social Security funds don’t go to food stamps.

      1. Well if you’re naive enough to believe that once monies are in the hands of the govt they won’t be relocated, then keep believing it . They did the exact same thing with teachers pensions Fred. Pension money is GONE because it was used for another purpose! At least that’s what you’ve been claiming in your blog. Why would you believe differently now?

      2. I agree that the government “relocates” money. As the recent tax bill demonstrates, it relocates it from the poor and working people to the wealthy.

    2. Dear Anonymous. I dislike reading letters like yours that are filled with misinformation and hatred. Do you dare give out your real name? [“You have only yourself to blame. I wish you would pay more.] Good grief.

      Do you know that many people exist solely on Social Security and are barely making it? Many who have other sources of income still depend upon SS to barely keep out of poverty.

      It is a crime in our society that the GOP is actively working to make some recipients of SNAP [food stamps] work. There are no jobs and no transportation for most of these people. The ‘paperwork’ involved in keeping track of this would be a nightmare both for the SNAP office people and the recipients. Why shouldn’t people get food for free whenever they need it?

      The farm bill up for a vote shows just how bad the GOP is for people.

  10. Don’t know if this is true or hearsay but the story I always heard was that good old Dan Rostenkowski in a smoke filled back room made a handshake deal with the teachers’ unions. If they agreed to WEP, then our pensions would be off-limits. We all know how that worked out!

    1. Rostenkowski made a handshake deal with Ronald Reagan, creating the WEP and the GPO. Reagan had a psychotic hatred of public employees in general, and federal employees in particular. I noticed when this was enacted in the 1980’s, and I tried to alert others who would also be affected. They could not fully understand or believe that something like this could be allowed. When they heard it would be something that would be 20 or 30 years in their future, eyes would glaze over and they would quickly forget about it. Bills have been introduced over the years to repeal WEP/GPO, they never got anywhere. The Democrats had the power to repeal it during Obama’s first two years. I called many Senators and Congressmen to repeal it, but was told they were very busy with other things like Obamacare, and they would get back to it next session. They were overconfident and lost their majority in congress. We lost our only hope of repealing this legalized theft of our earned social security benefits.

  11. Both my spouse and I are 12 years into retirement and affected by the 2 rules you mention. We are in total agreement that it is a rip off!

  12. That doesn’t seem like all that much considering that you have a pension from the state that goes up 3% every year – unless I’m missing something.

    You seem to have it easier than those of us who haven’t worked for the state or do not. Not to be harsh, but it’s hard to feel sympathy for you here in terms of any real financial impact.

    1. Yes. You are missing something. Those who changed careers to become teachers – after paying in to Social Security for however many years – essentially lose what they paid in. Not looking for your sympathy. What rationale explains that?

  13. Here is another wrinkle. I worked in the foundry industry for six years before I became a teacher, and paid into Social Security. Then I worked for 24 years for the Oakland schools, which meant I was paying into the state teacher retirement system instead of Social Security. When I got divorced, my ex-wife got one third of my teacher retirement (our marriage covered 16 of my 24 years as a teacher). I got none of the Social Security benefits she had earned during those years. Why was my teacher retirement considered community property, while her SS was not?

  14. As a retiree seriously impacted by the WEP-GPO, this miserable provision needs to be renamed “The Social Security Confiscation Act” I am now missing thousands of dollars each year due for what I paid toward Social Security in the first half of my career. EVERY time I attend a Town Hall, I ask legislators where they stand on this issue. I have had to sit and explain what WEP-GPO is to several who had no idea how this was impacting. I now ask them to co-sponsor legislation dealing with WEP-GPO repeal.

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