A Social Security card is displayed on Oct. 12, 2021, in Tigard, Oregon. Credit: Jenny Kane / AP

Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.

A Nov. 12 letter in the Bangor Daily News from Karen Holmes advocated for the repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pensions Offset affecting Social Security Administration benefits. She claimed almost 2 million Americans are being denied their benefits because of the cost ($183 billion over 10 years) when billions are being spent on immigrants, refugees and supporting Ukraine.

Passed in 1983 and signed by President Ronald Reagan, these laws sought to equitably treat workers who only paid Social Security taxes (typically private employees) versus those who had government pensions (state and federal workers) and paid some Social Security taxes on non-government income.

For retirees receiving government pensions, lawmakers thought, and continue to think, that the Social Security formula is overly generous for additional benefits based on the non-government income. As it was in 2021, more than 60 percent of those government retirees affected by Windfall Elimination Provision had pensions higher than the average Social Security benefit. Without these laws, they would receive even more.

The laws could use some tweaking, particularly as applied to affected lower-wage earners. But the whole idea was to inject more fairness into the system and not allow public employees to unfairly “double-dip” into the Social Security funds contributed mainly by private company employees. Public servants are not being ignored or considered unimportant. They are just being asked to be fair to others.

Douglas Heden

Bar Harbor