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!!