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Newly proposed WEP legislation portends Social Security’s future

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) reduces Social Security benefits for over 2 million government retirees with pensions from Federal, State or local government employers who didn’t participate in (contribute to) the Social Security program. Those affected worked enough outside the government employer to be also entitled to Social Security benefits but their SS benefits are reduced by WEP, which was enacted in 1983 to correct what was viewed as an unintended “windfall” for workers eligible for both pensions. Never a popular provision, various lawmakers have, over recent years, proposed either eliminating or modifying WEP to ease its impact to affected retirees, but those proposals never came to fruition. Then in 2015 two Congressmen – one Democrat and one Republican – in rare demonstration of bipartisanship, offer a WEP proposal to improve WEP’s fairness. That bipartisan bill unfortunately also languished in Congress.

Now, probably portending the immediate future for any serious and badly needed reform of the broader Social Security program, these two Congressmen have parted ways even on the smaller WEP issue, by offering individual proposals to reform this provision, diverging from their bipartisan approach in favor of their own favorite. In the opinion of commentator Romina Boccia of the Heritage Foundation, this suggests we’re moving further away from any broader, common sense bipartisan effort to resolve Social Security’s broader financial problems. Click here to read this story in The Daily Signal.

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