Action Alert #83 – Act Now to Keep H.R. 711 Going!


(put this on your calendar to do):

  1. Call and write your Congresspersons.  Support H. R. 711.

Tell them—H.R. 711 corrects the faulty WEP formula.

H.R. 711 was written to be cost neutral.

  1. Californians, Tell Feinstein’s office to sponsor this in the Senate!


It fixes the formula used to apply the WEP and reduces the penalty

The WEP is WRONG for the purpose that it purports to accomplish because its current formula over-assesses penalties and affects people in erratic ways.  H.R. 711 uses a new system treating non-Social Security (FICA) contributing earnings in the same way as regular earnings which have been taxed to pay for Social Security retirement. Under H.R. 711, our non-SS-covered earnings are added toour SS earnings to get a better picture of our lifetime earnings.  It then adds a formula to correct for the fact that those not paying into SS during most of their career look like low-income earners who get a higher rate of return on their Social Security contributions. This new process corrects the original faulty mathematical formula of the WEP.  It will provide a 50% relief for persons who have not turned 62 by Jan. 1, 2017.  The correction is somewhat less for those who are older.

We do agree that the whole idea behind the Windfall Elimination Provision and HR 711 is UNFAIR because it pits the pension you receive from a public agency against the Social Security that you have earned in other work.  Contributions to the public pension we receive are made at a different rate than FICA contributions to Social Security.  Formulas for taxing pensions differ from those used for taxing Social Security and are not even consistent from state to state. Balancing part of our income against Social Security retirement benefits looks just like means-testing. BUT there is little chance to totally repeal that injustice now.


Some of our strongest advocates who have fought for years for total repeal are seeing that the only hope for change is in compromise, as in most governmental decision making.  After 10 years, even strong GPO/WEP repeal supporter Senator Diane Feinstein has given up the fight, asking for another more attainable solution.   “Give me another suggestion,” her office told us.  In 2017, the Social Security Administration will have new powers to double-check the source of everyone’s earnings to more consistently apply the GPO/WEP.  No longer will some slip through the cracks and escape these penalties. This is a one time funding source to lessen the burden of the WEP.  Many longtime lobbyists supporting complete repeal for the GPO/WEP feel that if the WEP is modified, it will offer a chance for later modification of the GPO.  This may be our only opportunity to capitalize on both the momentum and the newly available funding.

The H.R. 711 bill ensures that as long as the Windfall Elimination Provision is going to be administered, it is done accurately.  It can save people as much as $2,000/year.  It will bring the issue of both the GPO and WEP to the attention of Congress.  The more our Representatives know about the WEP, the clearer will be their understanding about the faulty reasoning behind both the offsets.

Support H.R. 711!  Tell your Congresspersons and your Senators why we need this NOW!