GSC March 2023 Newsletter

EDITION 12 March 2023



Chair's Corner

Calling all Seniors Affected by WEP

Betsy Ettorre

This month I want to give you an update on what’s happening with WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision). Some, if not many of you are aware that WEP applies to those Americans who receive both a pension from non-covered work (including certain foreign pensions) and SS benefits based on fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings in covered employment or self-employment. Spousal benefits are also unfairly eliminated due to WEP, making a family’s long-term financial stability more worrying. Also, the rules for WEP and the calculation for the deduction are complicated. This leaves many retirees in the dark until they get the bad news that their paid-for benefits are being cut.

In the last Congress HR 82 Social Security Fairness Act of 2022 which would have repealed WEP did not pass. In the current Congress, HR 82 Social Security Fairness Act of 2023 was introduced in the House on January 9th 2023 by
Representative Garret Graves (Republican, Louisiana District 6). Again, we have a bill that eliminates WEP. What is the Senior Caucus doing about WEP?

  1. We are putting pressure on Congress: The DA Seniors Caucus is currently working on WEP elimination, and we want to put pressure on our Representatives in Congress to pass the current HR 82 as it is a bipartisan bill. In the near future, we plan to have meetings with key Congresspeople, and we need your help. We need DA Seniors who are affected by WEP and are constituents of:
    Representative Abigail Davis Spanberger (Democrat, Virginia District 7);
    Representative Gareth Graves (Republican, Louisiana District 6) or 
    Representative Richard Neal (Democrat, Massachusetts District 1).
    If you would like to help us and are a constituent of one of the above Congresspeople, please contact us at [email protected] Thank you very much for your help.
  2. We will sponsor a Global Webinar, WEP and Americans Abroad, on Saturday, April 1st (10.30 am – 12.00 pm Eastern time) with Nancy Altman from Social Security Works. We welcome all of your questions about WEP. Please send your questions to us at [email protected] by Saturday, March 25th.


from the Editor

It’s Tax Time! 

Due to last month's overwhelmingly successful tax webinar, Democrats Abroad proudly launched the Tax Webinar Series, to be held on Wednesdays. The first two were on February 15th & 22nd. You can RSVP for the upcoming talks - of special interest for us is the March 8th event as it addresses retirement, taxes and investments: 

Find out more from DA’s Taxation Task Force.

Coffee Chat 24 February

Everyone is invited to join our monthly discussions on, well, nearly everything. See upcoming dates in the Events section below. 

President Biden’s State of the Union

On Social Security & Medicare: I can watch Joe say over and over, amid heckling from the far right, “As we all apparently agree, Social Security is off the books now” and “Apparently it’s not going to be a problem.” He took it in stride. 

This administration is continuing to add jobs, grow and stabilize the economy. Go Joe!

The Senate confirmed President Biden’s 100th federal judge, a rate faster than former president Trump. NBC News' Sahil Kapur reports on the racial and ethnic makeup of Biden's selections and how Republicans feel about the confirmation efficiency.

Oh, the contrast!

Former President sides with Putin criticizing U.S. intelligence officials as “misfits” and “lowlifes.”


If you like our work, please consider making a donation to Democrats Abroad. 

— Lauren Hakulinen, Editor



What was the Fairness Doctrine, what happened to it, and can we get it back?

“Sullivan’s position is an appeal to the original rationale of the First Amendment. We have a free press in order to protect democracy. When democracy is threatened, reporters and editors and publishers should have an agenda. They should be pro-democracy. Reporters should “stop asking who the winners and losers are,” Sullivan says; they should “start asking who is serving democracy and who is undermining it.” The press is in the game. It has a stake.“ Read the article 

Burn Bags and Tracking Numbers: How the White House Handles Classified Files

Current and former officials who have been part of the process, under Democratic and Republican presidents alike, described an elaborate National Security Council tracking system for highly sensitive documents like the P.D.B., but a more casual dissemination of the churn of classified documents that are used every day by officials from the president to junior national security aides. Read the article

On Gun Violence, the United States is an Outlier

Senator Feinstein’s retirement at the end of her term will be felt throughout Congress and California as we lose one of our fiercest champions of gun safety. You can read in her own words about her work on assault weapon bans. 

“Among 64 high-income countries and territories, the United States stands out for its high levels of gun violence. The US ranks eighth out of 64 for homicides by firearm (age-adjusted). Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, two US territories, rank first and third on that list. Firearm injuries tend to be more frequent in places where people have easy access to firearms, according to findings from the 2018 Global Burden of Disease study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).” Read more …

It was on her pants and her shoes. She said, ‘It’s my friend’s blood.’”

“And I am tired, so tired, of waking up to what appears to be a sunny day and delaying as long as possible, through my juice, and light breakfast, through my last minute edits, whatever fresh misery the right wing has brought upon this country, either through stochastic, or direct methods.” Read more ...

Petition: Ban Lawmakers from Trading Stocks

Senator Ossoff's bill, the Ban Congressional Stock Trading Act, would require legislators, their spouses, and dependent children to place their stock portfolios into blind trusts. If passed, the legislation would not allow lawmakers to use insider information to trade stocks and make money. What a good idea! (Again.) Click on the link above to sign. 



Aging and Bone

As we age, our bones age. They become weaker, thinner, and more fragile. But there are things we can do to strengthen not only our bones, but to help keep our general health intact. This article is highly detailed, but there is a section about bone aging that you may want to read. 

We can keep up our strength with supplements. This article explains what we need and why, and this is the supplement my osteopath recommended I use. If it’s not available where you are, they do ship. But ask if your local store will order them for you. 

I Took Oxy and Fentanyl for Years

Here's What No One Is Telling You About The Opioid Crisis

"I prided myself on being tough and not complaining — even when I had to crawl on my hands and knees down the stairs to have a family dinner.

I have a rare disease called sarcoidosis. For 12 long years, it attacked parts of my brain, causing episodes of total blindness and vertigo so intense I would fall over when I got out of bed. Far worse was the pain it unleashed in my head.”  Read more …

Bernie Sanders on the Senate Health Committee

“Two Republicans on the panel, Mr. Braun and Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas, both said in interviews that they thought they might find common ground with Mr. Sanders on matters like lowering the cost of prescription drugs and supporting community health centers.

And Mr. Daschle said Mr. Sanders had a counterpart he could probably work with: Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, the top Republican on the committee. A physician who helped found a community health clinic to treat the uninsured, Mr. Cassidy was one of seven Republicans who voted to convict former President Donald J. Trump at his second impeachment trial.” Read the article.



Visiting 'Home': The Double Life of an Expat

“I recently took my very first trip home to England a year after moving to America to live with my American husband in the autumn of 2012. Due to conflicting work schedules, I took the trip alone, leaving my husband in the States while I visited family in England. After establishing a new life abroad, it felt like I was living a double life. I’m sure I’m not the only expat to feel this way.”  Read on …



Affinity Fraud - White-Collar Criminals Use Bonds of Trust to Prey on Investors

Although this article was written in 2017, it is still relevant today. 

“Financial fraudsters are known to be an unscrupulous lot, but it is particularly loathsome when these white-collar criminals exploit trusting members of their own church or social circle to line their pockets.

Financial crimes based on bonds of trust—known as affinity fraud—occur throughout the United States, but are especially prevalent in Utah, where members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints too often are victimized by savvy fraudsters who claim to be just like them.”  Read more …

An alleged $500 million Ponzi scheme preyed on Mormons. It ended with FBI gunfire

Another church was targeted proving it can happen to anyone, anywhere. This story is so dramatic, it could be made into a TV movie. 

"The Las Vegas attorney, then 49, had been anticipating this visit for months, he would tell an FBI hostage negotiator. He’d already drafted letters to his wife and four children, explaining what he could and describing how much he loved them.

On this Thursday in March, Beasley knew his time was up. He placed the letters — along with a note addressed to the FBI and a zip drive of computer files — upstairs on the desk in his office. Then, alone in the house, he went to the front door. He paused, the left side of his body obscured by the door frame.“ Read on … 



DA Caucus Events for 2023

Fridays on 24 February and 31 March 

Don’t miss our Seniors and Disability Caucus monthly chats via Zoom, from 9 to 10:30 am Eastern Time (US & Canada). Everyone is very welcome! RSVP to get your local time and add it to your calendar.

The Tax Webinar Series

Will be on the following Wednesdays. RSVP today!

Find out more from DA’s Taxation Task Force.



How to get in touch with the U.S. Embassy where you reside

U.S. Embassies

State Department Country & Area List

How to sign up for Social Security online from abroad

The AARP has written a succinct article on this. 

How to read your local newspaper back home


Have you ever had the urge to read a local newspaper from back home? You can — many are listed on Wikipedia.



  • The Global Senior Caucus is looking for a “Tweeter” - someone who loves to post on Twitter. We are also in need of an Events Coordinator and two other Steering Committee members. Visit our website for details on our volunteer opportunities.
  • The Global Black Caucus is searching to fill more positions. Get in touch here.
  • The Global Communications Team is also looking for volunteers as they ramp up for the 2024 election! Do you have a communications background? Are you interested in helping? If so, please fill out the Global Communications Team Interest Form.


Final Thoughts

Congratulation to Bonnie Raitt for her THREE Grammys!
The inspiration for her song “Just Like That” was her friendship and the passing of her good friend, songwriter John Prine. 

“…to John Prine and all the songwriters who keep inspiring and giving us the joy of sharing their music. I’m just bowled over. Love, Bonnie” 

She also encourages us to visit the "Just Like That" video and read the comments below the video from people whose lives have been touched by organ donors.

Want to hear more Bonnie? Don’t miss this incredible interview

If you like our work, please consider making a donation to Democrats Abroad.

Thanks to Susan Trevelyan-Syke and Eric Jackson
for their contributions to this month’s newsletter!

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