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I have read several accounts recently of people who are not treated fairly by their company's retirement system. Social Security does the same thing. I know teachers who have worked during their summers off to make ends meet, paying into Social Security, only to be penalized when they retire.

After teaching for 31 years, I decided to work part time for 10 years to be able to qualify for Medicare benefits at 65. I knew it would not be a large benefit. I was entitled to a little over $200 a month, but because I had been a teacher, that was cut in half. Thus my little over $100 check was then reduced by $78.20 for Medicare Part B, and further reduced by the fact that I had applied at age 65 instead of 65 1/2.

I was finally entitled to $23.90 and the good folks at Social Security graciously rounded it off in their favor to $23. This will be further reduced in 2006 when Part B increases $10.30. I received a letter a few days ago informing me that they had refigured my benefits and found that I actually should have been receiving $26 monthly, so in December, I will receive a check for all my missed "benefits" since January. A real "windfall."

Teachers who did not pay into Social Security are forever penalized in retirement. Our legislators do not want us to reap any "windfalls" by getting a teachers' pension and Social Security. So they enacted two laws, the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset.

After all, why allow teachers to have money after retiring when they are certainly not used to having any money while they are teaching? I imagine, however, that our legislators are entitled to their fat retirement benefits and Social Security upon retirement?

John Wagner

Rural Bloomington

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