WEP-GPO “Fairness” Examined in House Ways & Means Hearing - FEDweek

FEDweek, a federal and military employees’ and retirees’ information source on pay and benefit issues, yesterday published a recap of last week’s House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee hearing on the perceived “fairness” or “unfairness” of Social Security’s Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) components. As explained in the recap, the hearing noted that while the two primary legislative proposals–H.R. 82 and S. 597–calling for the repeal of these components have obtained majority support in both Chambers, “prospects for action remain uncertain.”

Although the basic objective of the two bills is elimination of WEP and GPO, the flavor of last week’s hearing turned more to potential formula modification rather than elimination of the provisions. A considerable portion of the hearing focused on understanding the reasoning behind enactment of the provisions decades ago and on understanding the way the formulas work to ensure fairness in the calculation of benefits, and therefore the income replacement rate intentions built into Social Security’s progressive design. To review the FEDweek article, click here.

Throughout last week’s two-hour hearing, a variety of data and viewpoints were exchanged, and for anyone interested in learning more about the controversy surrounding these two Social Security components listening to the proceedings in full would be time well spent. The full recording of the hearing can be accessed here. For those with limited time, three key points emerging during the hearing can be reviewed here.

The AMAC Foundation, following numerous calls for clarification from the public, has published extensive documentation on these controversial provisions, including a media article that can be accessed here. This article is based in part on the premise that to understand the reasoning behind these two provisions, it is first necessary to understand how benefits are calculated, a point that was made repeatedly in last week’s Ways and Means field hearing. The Foundation has also submitted input to Ways and Means defining its researched opinions regarding WEP and GPO repeal.

The first three links provided above connect readers to the full content of the posted articles. The URLs (internet addresses) for these links are valid on the posted date; socialsecurityreport.org cannot guarantee the duration of the links’ validity. Also, the opinions expressed in these postings are the viewpoints of the original source and are not explicitly endorsed by AMAC, Inc.; the AMAC Foundation, Inc.; or socialsecurityreport.org.

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