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Benefits Denied
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     More than half the teachers, police officers and firefighters in Rhode Island have their benefits slashed due to little known provisions of the social security act. 
     Rhode Island is one of 15 so-called non social security states in which some public employees have the option of paying into the social security system, or deciding not to. 
     But many of those who decided not to pay into the system had no idea what the consequences would be when they reached retirement age. "who is this? that's me.  That is you. Wow. Helsinki, 1952? right."
     Janet Moreau - the pride of Pawtucket - setting a world record in winning the olympic gold medal in the 100 meter relay. 
     Fifty one years later, janet moreau stone describes her retirement as a barrington teacher and the social security laws that denied her the money her late husband paid into social security for years. "I  don't know why more wasn't made of this a long time ago. It seems so obvious it's unfair."
   "Many teachers, firefighters and police officers do not get social security benefits because they decided not to contribute to the system, opting instead for payments into a state retirement  program."
    Stone understands not getting social security benefits if you don't contribute to the system... 
    But she does not understand why she was denied spousal benefits for the many years her late husband paid into social security. 
    The amendments that have caused stone to lose thousand of dollars were enacted and modified in the 1970s and 80s as a way to deal with federal budget deficits and so-called "double dipping" by public employees who had both social security and other retirement benefits. 
    But there were unforseen consequences. 
    Joyce Fletcher paid into social security as a nurse for 12 years. Her late husband paid into the system for 34 years. But because she did not pay into social security when she became a teacher in westerly her social security check is only $106 a month.
  "When i went and and filed as a widow, i expected to get $700 a month."I went three times because I couldn't believe it. I went three thimes because i thought there was an error." 
  There was no error. Now she works to help pay for her expensive prescription drugs. 
     Lois Beach taught right out of college for a short time,,,but left the profession not to return until 1989. 
     That means she doesn't have enough years in the state retirement system to get a full pension...and she will get precious little in social security benefits. 
 "Because i am a widow i thought that i would be able to have my husband's social security, but that, i found out now, will be cut by two-thirds." 
   Since she cannot collect on her husband's socvial security benefits, she says she'll have to keep working to increase her state pension. 
   "You know my first thought was. God, he'll roll over in his grave if he found out that nobody is going to benefit from all that money that he paid in. His children are not going to benefit. And i'm not going to." 
    These are just three individuals effected by the social security amendments. 
    There are thousands more in Rhode Island alone. 
    There is so much concern about this situation congressional hearing got underway in washington today to see if these amendments could be changed because they unfairly effect so many people. 

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