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WEP/GPO Elimination Bill Reintroduced

Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME), along with 31 bipartisan cosponsors, on March 1, 2023 reintroduced the Social Security Fairness Act reintroduced in Senate (S. 597). As in its predecessor bills in earlier Congressional sessions, the bill is intended to ensure that affected parties receive the full Social Security benefits they have earned. For a fact sheet prepared by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), click here. And to review the Introductory Statement on S. 597 from the Congressional Record, click here

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Comments On This Topic

  1. I don’t understand how over turning the WEP can even be a question, and in fact wonder how it was passed originally. The monies in our Social Security savings accounts are *ours*, OUR SAVINGS. As a woman I was underpaid every paycheck and then took a state job for 15 years (retiring at age 69) which allows a monthly pension of 35% of my pay. The SS Admin is withholding *half* my Social Security savings – that’s $500 a month. This is an immoral move on the [part of the federal government and needs to be reversed immediately.

    • Emily,
      There are, of course, many who agree with you, but also many (particularly in Congress) who do not. To add some perspective, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) was enacted in 1983 because Congress determined that those who have a “non-covered pension” (a pension earned while not contributing to Social Security) had an unfair advantage over those who contributed to Social Security throughout their entire working career. The first thing to clarify is that the contributions you made to Social Security aren’t/weren’t held in a special “savings account” for you; the program simply doesn’t work that way. Working Americans (except those who work for a state agency which doesn’t participate in Social Security) contribute funds which are used to pay benefits to those already receiving Social Security. The contributions aren’t deposited into a personal account for the contributor, they’re used immediately to pay benefits to others. However, the earnings from which those SS payroll taxes are deducted also earn credits giving you the right to collect Social Security benefits for the rest of your life. In turn, your Social Security benefits are paid for by those currently working and contributing to Social Security.
      WEP was enacted (in 1983) by a Congress which felt that those who earned a non-covered pension without contributing to Social Security, and who also separately earned Social Security benefits, were given an unfair advantage when computing their SS benefit using the standard formula. Thus a special WEP formula was created to equalize how benefits are paid to everyone. Essentially, the WEP formula provides SS benefits consistent with those provided to others who do not have another separate pension earned without contributing to Social Security, and consistent with Social Security’s objective to replace about 40% of each beneficiary’s pre-retirement income.
      WEP has withstood many (nearly annual) attempts to repeal it, all of which have failed to garner enough Congressional support to do so, and we expect that the recently introduced Congressional bill will suffer the same fate. Note I’m only providing some historical perspective here based on our researching this topic in great detail.
      Russell Gloor
      National Social Security Advisor
      The AMAC Foundation

      • Since the WEP is a basic issue of fairness, maybe it would be better to pursue a remedy through the justice system instead of letting biased legislators continue to wrangle over eliminating it, which should be an easy decision.

        • Thanks for your feedback, but the use of the justice system has been already considered multiple times by the unions which represent the many teachers, firefighters, and police professionals, and – to a lesser extent – by individuals affected by WEP and/or GPO. The results of one such case can be found here:
          Based on precedent, I don’t believe using the justice system would result in eliminating WEP or GPO.
          Russell Gloor
          National Social Security Advisor
          The AMAC Foundation

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