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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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Comments On This Topic

  1. If you get a small state pension and you should get a few hundred in social security to supplement your already low retirement income when you’re qualified after PAYING IN TO BOTH SYSTEMS, it is CRIMINAL for SS to STEAL HALF OF YOUR social security retirement you’ve waited for to give it to illegal aliens!!! Congress already STOLE MILLIONS FROM SOCIAL SECURITY AND DID NOT PUT IT BACK! Now this is a SLAP IN THE FACE TO LOW INCOME PEOPLE NEEDING ALL OF THEIR SOCIAL SECURITY! The full SS amount is NO G D WINDFALL!!! If a few hundred a month is a WINDFALL, I’d like to know how they can afford to give THOUSANDS TO OTHER PEOPLE?!!!!! They are CRIMINALS FOR TRYING TO STEAL MY MONEY THAT I PUT IN THE SYSTEM AND GIVE IT TO THOSE WHO DID NOT, INCLUDING CONGRESS FOOLS!!!

    • Denise,
      I understand your frustration being affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) because of your State pension, which was earned without either you or your employer contributing to Social Security. Congress passed the WEP law many years ago (1983) in an effort to equalize the percentage of income replacement enjoyed by retirees who fully contributed to Social Security over their lifetime, and those who contributed less. I agree that the WEP formula should be updated, and legislation has been introduced in Congress every year to do so, but all bills previously proposed have simply languished “in committee” and were never enacted. So you have a clear understanding of how WEP works, here is a link to an article I wrote on this topic:
      Regarding some of your other points, I’m afraid you have been misinformed in several ways. First, “illegal aliens” cannot collect Social Security benefits. Social Security can only be paid to citizens and legal residents of the United States, to those who qualify by working and contributing to the program, or to their legal resident dependents. Second, despite the social media allegations you may have read, no politician has ever “stolen” any money from Social Security. We have thoroughly investigated this charge and have found that all monies ever contributed to Social Security since its inception has been used ONLY to pay benefits to those who are eligible, and for administrative costs of running the SS program. Here is another link to an article I wrote which addresses that topic:
      Finally, Congressional Representatives and their staffs have paid into the Social Security system, just like the rest of us, since 1984.
      So, while I fully understand your frustration, I offer the above articles to give you a full understanding of how WEP works, and information which I hope will ease your anger about those pervasive myths which, simply, are not true. What is true, however, is that the Windfall Elimination Provision will continue to affect your Social Security benefit. And unfortunately, based upon Congress’ history with bills offering relief from WEP, I am not optimistic that WEP will be reformed or go away anytime soon.
      Russell Gloor
      National Social Security Advisor
      The AMAC Foundation

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