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WEP reform in 2022? Maybe!

Since 1983 the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) has affected public employees in a handful of states who did not pay into the Social Security sytem in their jobs but who also had employment where they did. The “penalty” has been the bane of many ever since. A bill to eliminate WEP has been introduced in every Congress ever since. Now Reps. Richard Neal (D-MA) and Kevin Brady (R-TX) are close to a deal to either eliminate or minimize WEP’s impact. Their “fix” is a “proportional formula” that would base benefits on the share of earnings over a full work history that came from Social Security “covered” employment. Those currently working but slated to see benefit cuts under the current formula could get about $500 a month extra, while current retirees could receive an additional $100 to $150 per month. Read the full article in Roll Call by Laura Weiss here.

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Comments On This Topic

  1. I am a retired teacher, but have 40 credits with ss but not 30 years of putting $$ in to ss. I am 63 years old, my husband ( who put $$ into ss for 50 years) recently passed. ss is saying that wep applies to my survivor benefits and cut my monthly benefits in half!

    • Deborah,
      It isn’t “WEP” (Windfall Elimination Provision) which applies to your survivor benefits from your deceased husband, rather it is the Government Pension Offset (GPO). The GPO cuts your surviving spouse benefit from your husband by 2/3rds of the amount of your teacher’s pension, because that pension was earned without contributing to Social Security. GPO has been law since 1983 and affects spousal or survivor benefits for anyone who has a “non-covered pension” (a pension earned without contributing to Social Security). The GPO drastically reduces and often eliminates any spousal or surviving spouse benefit you might otherwise be entitled to from your spouse.
      The WEP provision you mentioned also applies because of your non-covered teacher’s pension, and WEP affects your own, personally earned, Social Security benefit from other work outside of your teaching career. WEP reduces your personally earned SS benefit using a formula based on the number of years of SS contributions you have made, and your eligibility year (the year you turned 62). With 20 or fewer years contributing to Social Security you will incur the maximum WEP reduction for your eligibility year, which can often mean you get only about half of the SS retirement benefit you would otherwise get if WEP didn’t apply. So, I’m afraid that Social Security has informed you correctly – the GPO has likely either drastically cut or eliminated any survivor benefit from your husband, and WEP has reduced your personally earned SS retirement benefit. I’ve recently published an article which describes how WEP and GPO work, which you can review at this link:
      Russell Gloor
      National Social Security Advisor
      The AMAC Foundation

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