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An investigative probe into how rules written for distressed rust belt property may benefit a select few; Small Business Saturday highlights local Economies; FL nonprofit helps offset the high cost of insulin.


A Supreme Court case could have broad implications for the future of U.S. elections, results show voters rejected election deniers in many statewide races, and the concession phone call may be a thing of the past.


A water war in Southwest Utah has ranchers and Native tribes concerned, federal solar subsidies could help communities transition to renewable energy, and Starbucks workers attempt to unionize.

WI Educator: Social Security Vital for Eligible Teachers


Thursday, October 6, 2022   

Wisconsin is one of 33 states allowing Social Security benefits to be extended to teachers.

As the future of the program is debated, a retired educator said keeping certainty in place is crucial if the country doesn't want more people leaving the profession. On the campaign trail, some Republican candidates have floated ideas opponents argued would either cut or eliminate the program.

John Bigley, a retired eighth grade science teacher from the Rhinelander area, said he earned a pension, but he added the extra help from Social Security payments makes retirement less challenging financially, especially during a period of high inflation.

"We have what we have right now, and it's keeping our head above water," Bigley acknowledged. "We don't have a lot of stress."

But he worries about recipients who do not have other retirement savings. Bigley added threatening to reduce benefits does not help to retain teachers during a national shortage of educators.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is among those suggesting program changes. He defended his approach by saying he wants to move it to discretionary spending to enact needed reforms.

Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, said older Americans are especially feeling the weight of higher-consumer costs. He argued retired teachers are among the many individuals who deserve to keep the earned benefit after devoting their life to a certain profession.

"We need to pay teachers more, I'll say that, across the board," Lawson asserted. "But at the same time, we need to ensure that every teacher who's paid into the system, that they don't have to be scared that some politician is going to reach into our pocket and take our benefits away."

Teacher advocates pointed out teachers also face less job security, as school districts struggle with budget issues of their own. They contended what teachers earn through Social Security will at least be there if they do not stay on long enough to secure a pension.

It's estimated only one in five teachers in the U.S. go on to receive their full pension benefits.

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