Action Alert #82 – Urgent: Better Than What We Have Now–H.R. 711!

The Committee for Social Security Fairness agrees that there should be no Windfall Elimination Provision, at all. However, given that there is currently a chance to lessen the injury it causes, we need to support H.R. 711, Representative Kevin Brady’s “Equal Treatment of Public Servants’ ACT.”

We believe that our other employment should not affect the amount of Social Security retirement benefits we receive. Given this belief, we also need to recognize that:
The current Windfall Elimination Provision uses a formula that does not fairly do what it purports to do. The WEP was enacted to even-out the situation whereby someone who has a small SS retirement benefit, because of fewer years of SS-covered work, gets a proportionally greater return on investment than does someone with more contributions and therefore a larger actual benefit. Persons with a long non-SS-paying public employee career is reimbursed as if they were very low income workers. However, the current WEP formula is mathematically WRONG for many of those affected. H.R. 711 strives to correct that failing. The time to fix this is NOW.

Since the federal government now has data on our employment for public agencies which do not pay Social Security benefits, as well as our Social Security-paying employment, they will be able to enforce the WEP more carefully than the way it has been done up till now. The difference H.R. 711 will make is that, since it uses your entire work history, it balances the offset in a way that makes more sense. Each offset will be based on each individual’s earning situation, and it is expected that some retirees may regain up to half of what the current WEP takes away.

The SSA will begin data-matching Social Security and state and local pension databases to ensure accurate benefit calculations, beginning in 2017. The result will be that there will be more people affected by the offset and, therefore, it will save the SSA dollars in retirement fund payouts. If H.R. 711 passes, these recuperated funds will be reallocated as a gain in benefits for those who have been and will be affected by the current WEP. If it does not pass, the extra money will go into the SSA general fund, meaning those of us affected by the WEP will not benefit from this change in the Social Security Administration’s ability to allocate funding.

This bill has been introduced by Texas Republican Congressman Kevin Brady, who is currently Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He has been working to change the formula for the WEP for many years, based on the demonstrated fact that it is wrong mathematically for its purpose. He has been challenged by candidates for his seat who are more conservative than he is, and if he loses his seat, we will lose this opportunity.

For more information, here is a link to submissions to the Social Security Subcommittee of Ways and Means showing support for this bill:

The notion that there will be millions more people affected by the WEP if this bill passes has been discounted. Even without the bill, there will be a number of public agency retirees, newly identified, who will lose a portion of their future benefits, even though they may now be receiving them.

Please inform your Congressperson of the importance of this bill. Tell them that this is a technical fix and should not be a partisan issue. We still think the WEP and GPO penalties are wrong, but it is important to get this bill through Congress NOW!!!

Please call your Member of Congress and ask for their support for H.R. 711!
Contact your Senators, also, and explain how important this bill is now.
Thank you for standing up for SOCIAL SECURITY FAIRNESS!!

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  1. The biggest injustice in the WEP law is the huge discrepancy between the private industry Quarter of Coverage wage and the public servant Substantial Earnings wage. Private industry workers need only $5040 to qualify for benefits. A public servant currently needs $22,050/yr.. Public servants pay FOUR TIMES the S.S. TAX for the same benefit.
    A public servant needs to earn $10.60 an hour full time. The Federal minimum wage is only $7.25. Public servants earning less than $10.60 an hour pay tax on a benefit they do not qualify for. What is the logic behind charging 46% above the “living wage” aka. minimum wage? We worked full careers for a wage that was 25% to 50% less than our peers in private industry, because we wanted to serve our country. Now our country denies us equal rights to the benefits we earned.

  2. I see no mention of the Government Pension Offset (GPO) in this article. I certainly hope any legislation intended to address the unfair and punitive treatment of public employees would give equal weight to the plight of widows / widowers who EARNED their retirement benefit, but were made aware of the 2/3’s loss of that benefit due to the egregious GPO clause ONLY at the time of actual retirement. Not having been advised of the offset at the time of initially considering government employment amounts to fraud by omission of disclosure. Any reasonable person would have to see the logic in that position.

  3. We have been hearing about this bill for months but so far we have not seen even one calculation showing what the bill is going to do. The government has given no good examples and so far I haven’t received any from anywhere.

    What will this mean for people who have been working extra years so as to attain their 30 years of substantial earnings?

    Will they have to accept a smaller WEP deduction forever in lieu of the current larger deduction that does have a light at the end of the tunnel if you can work long enough?

    When will information be forthcoming? before 2017? after the fact?

    What about wage earners who have been earning extra years of substantial earnings but have not been receiving recalculations?

    What about the wage earners who can’t even find out from their local District Offices what their PIA is and so can’t know if their benefits are correctly calculated?

    What is the timetable for voting on 711 in Washington?

    A lot of unclear issues.

    1. If this bill adds to the number of people who will be affected by the WEP penalties, why is it good? We should be getting rid of the penalties not spreading it around. It should not decrease the benefits for anybody. It should make everybody eligible for their Social Security benefits that they have earned

    2. The ability of the SSA to coordinate with Medicare reporting will allow the SSA to find more people who qualify to be affected by the WEP. What this bill does is to capture that extra money for the benefit of retirees who are or will be losing money to the WEP. Without this bill the extra money goes into the Social Security general funds.

  4. Repeal these unjust laws placed on CSRS retirees!!! I worked while in high school-paid SS, enlisted in the military 1968- paid SS, worked through college paid- SS, had second jobs as a federal employee- paid SS, working part time job now as a CSRS retiree paying into SS. I can only receive 1/3 of my SS benefits which I am entitled to. My wife can receive 1/2 my CSRS annuity upon my death yet I can receive none repeat none of her SS benefits upon her death.

  5. The WEP/GPO, in my opinion is like a Felon, convicted and still out on bail for thirty-five years.
    This Repeal should be acted upon “Now”.
    As I previously mentioned, this law is in my opinion illegal.
    If you take money from what the people paid for, it is called stealing.

  6. I currently receive Social Security, however, I currrently work for a city government entity and will be affected by WEP when I finally retire from the City. In fact WEP is one of the main reasons I continue to work and not retire fully.

    Am I missing something or is there no provison in HB 711 for those of us in the same position as I? Basically, Receiving Social Security but not “yet” affected by WEP.

  7. I fear that if this bill passes we will never see a repeal of the WEP, which should be the goal. Why tweek something that is inherently wrong to start with? Both Brady & Sam Johnson ( chair of the hse. sub committee on soc. sec.) have completely ignored my tel. calls, emails and letters on this subject. Cornyn and Neugebauer of TX. are just as uninterested. Hope I’m wrong but doubt it.

  8. I will never understand how they can take my social security money away from me. Like most firefighters, we had to work 2 or more jobs to make a living. I paid my money in away from the fire department. I started working full time at 14 years of age. I only draw 40 percent of what i should be entitled to draw. It’s my money, I paid it in, what gives the government the right to steal it from me.

  9. I don’t understand HB 711.
    \The WEP must be eliminated completely.
    Legally, I deserve all my SS.

  10. HB 711 does not fix the problem which is Social Security itself. HB 711 tries to fix a broken part of another illegal and failed FDR program-Social Security. Social Security is not an investment-it is a tax which violates our private property rights.

  11. If This Bill passes I fear the WEP will never be repealed, which should be the goal. Tweeking the wep which is inherently wrong is not the answer.

  12. Retired people need all the help they can get, taking money from them is not only wrong but illegal. The recent COLAs have been a joke. The everyday costs (health care) for retired people is the main issue.

  13. This bill has a . . .

    51% chance of getting past committee.
    10% chance of being enacted.

    Only 15% of bills made it past committee and only about 3% were enacted in 2013–2015.

    Factors considered:
    •The sponsor is the chairman of a committee to which the bill has been referred.
    •A cosponsor is the chairman of a committee to which the bill has been referred.
    •The sponsor is in the majority party and at least one third of the bill’s cosponsors are from the minority party.
    •A cosponsor in the majority party has a high leadership score.
    •At least two cosponsors serve on a committee to which the bill has been referred.
    •The bill was referred to House Ways and Means.
    •This bill was a re-introduction of H.R. 5697 (113th) from the previous session of Congress.
    Not good at all!

  14. I had worked and retired from the USPS. Before doing so I worked and paid into ssa. After retirement I needed to go back to work…and just found out I still don’t have the required quarters needed to sign on to Medicare. I am 65…my late husband worked all his life and I am not entitled to his ssa! When I am eligible for ssa, I will lose a third due to the offset. Why are we being penalized??? We worked and our spouses worked…..

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