Click the link below to view the Benefits Newsletter that Don Giaquinto and Mike D'Arco put together,

Passaic County local 5

New Jersey State Retired Police and Fire Association

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    WEP  (Windfall Elimination Program)

​​Thank you to Lou Vega for Sharing the FMBA notice below regarding Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision Exemptions for retirees who were vested in the pension system (10 years service credit) prior to December 31, 1985. Anyone vested by this date was eligible to a retirement benefit as of that date and should not have been hit with the SS WEP, even if they did not retire until after this date. 

During our last RPFA meeting PFRS Trustee Steve Trowbridge reviewed this with us and advised any retiree affected by this should contact the PFRS to obtain a letter verifying their vesting status, then submit the SS appeal as indicated in the notice below. Pensions has set up a call center number that will get them what they need. The number he provided today is 609-292-7524.

Successful SS appeals have resulted in retirees receiving lump sum retro payment covering what should have been received, as well as increased monthly SS payments going forward. Steve also recommended that spouses/family members or deceased retirees who were affected to submit appeals as well. He was not sure about success for deceased member benefits, but believes that if survivor benefits are being paid, then they should be based on the correct amount due, and retro payments may also be due. 

I am also attaching the SS Fact Sheet regarding the WEP.

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Very Important Information!!!!

 I have some incredibly good news on the Windfall Elimination Provision that affects so many of our members!

If your pension was vested as of 12/31/1985, you are exempt from the windfall elimination provision. Being vested means you have 10 full years in the pension system and that you would be eligible for a disability pension as such, prior to January 1, 1986.

There’s a form to be filled out and your former employer has to provide a letter stating that you had time enough to be vested or have a deferred retirement benefit.

This is huge! And it’s because of an NJRPFA member, Bob Brown, life member of local 9. In fact, you are eligible for back monies from SS for what they owe you. One retiree got $40k in back money! Let me give you all the details, now!

I have some more information about the WEP decision that says “individuals who became eligible prior to 1986 were not subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision” the case was decided in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on April 16th, 2003. The case is Ralph Stroup, Plaintiff- Appellant, V Jo Anne B. Barnhart , Social Security Commissioner, Defendant-Appellee, if you care to look it up and read it. 

For our purposes, the decision says, if you were employed as a police officer or fireman for 10 years prior to January 1, 1986, you are vested in your pension. You could have very well quit being a cop or firemen at that juncture and elected to withdraw your pension contributions or taken a deferred retirement. As such, you were eligible to receive a pension and not be subject to WEP. It may also benefit the survivors of those who were unlawfully placed in the WEP and are now collecting their spouse’s SS payments. 

The Social Security administration requires a letter from your former employer that you were eligible for a pension or deferred pension prior to 1986. They also require the completion of the following form SSA-561-U2 (Request for reconsideration) 

In your narrative, you must explain why you are appealing. Reference your eligible for a deferred retirement letter and all the attached documents attached to your request. Make an appointment at you local Social Security office to hand deliver and review your filing. Give them eight weeks and follow up with a phone call. Wait two weeks and if you don’t get a response call your congressman and stay on top of them . 

Finally you will get back payments for all of the WEP money that was wrongly taken from you. Remember to put aside money to pay the tax on this when you file your taxes.

Again, thanks to Bob Brown, Local 9 life member, for carrying the water for so many of our retirees!