Kathleen asked me about the current status on the repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision.
Where do things stand legislatively now re Windfall Profit Elimination?
As someone who worked as a teacher for only 10 years–the rest of my employment having been primarily with non-profits–I’m suffering from the cuts to what would have been my social security. To add insult to injury, California (at least) was not required to alert potential new teachers about the WEP effect until 2 months after I was employed, so I wasn’t informed about it until it was close to my retirement.
I hope you can send me an update.
Almost every year new legislation is proposed that is intended to correct how public servants are penalized with regard to Social Security benefits. This year, for the first time in years, a piece of legislation got really close to a vote. It was called the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2015 (HR 711) and was sponsored by Representatives Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Richard Neal (D-MA). While it did not deal with the Government Pension Offset, it did replace the WEP formula with what was called the “Public Servant Fairness Formula” (PSF). Initially, I thought this was a positive step in the right direction. However, Dr. Andy Szakmary, a Professor of Finance at Richmond University, helped to change my mind. Frankly, he caught a few things in the Bill and supporting testimony that had slipped right by me. Ultimately, I decided that HR 711 would do more harm than good and referred to it as the Social Security Benefit Reduction Act of 2015.
It wasn’t long after this that the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) backed away from supporting this bill as well.
With that loss of support, the bill’s sponsor (Kevin Brady) said, “This bill is about getting equal treatment for public servants. However, it has become clear over the past several days that public servants are not in agreement about this legislation. We need the community to come together on what they can all support or the consequence, unfortunately, is to see the current WEP harm people on a daily basis that frankly don’t deserve being harmed. Meanwhile, we will postpone consideration of H.R. 711 until that agreement is found.”
Unfortunately, for now at least, some educators and other public servants will still be subject to the same old rules that are overly punitive and complex.
A note for all readers.
I love Social Security questions! I’ll answer them privately as time allows, but if I think the answer will benefit a wide audience, I’ll also publish them on my blog. Don’t worry, I’ll change up enough personal details so you’ll stay unknown. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need individual and specific help, I’m always available for a consultation.
As a final resource, read my article on other ways to find answers to your Social Security questions.