Help Us Repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)

UPDATE: The U.S. Ways and Means Committee is set to vote on HR 711 on Wednesday, July 13. Learn more here.

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) is an unfair federal provision preventing retirees from receiving the Social Security benefits they are owed. The WEP, which took effect in 1983, provides a means of eliminating the “windfall” of Social Security benefits received by beneficiaries who also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security.

Ninety-five percent of Texas public school employees do not pay into Social Security through their work with Texas schools. However, many have other jobs before, during, or after their employment in education in which they do pay into the federal program.

What is HR 711?

Congressman Kevin Brady’s (R-The Woodlands) Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act (HR 711) would replace the current WEP formula with a new, fairer one.

If you are a retiree subject to the current WEP formula and you already receive some Social Security income as of December 31, 2017, you will remain under the current WEP formula and receive a 15 percent rebate on your reduction by the end of 2018. This rebate also applies to retirees who are 62 by December 31, 2017 with uncovered service who do not yet receive monthly benefits.

Monthly benefits from Social Security for these retirees will not change. The 15 percent rebate will be disbursed annually, beginning in 2018. The average annual rebate is expected to be approximately $480, but will depend upon your current WEP reduction amount. Please refer to the chart below for examples. To determine your projected annual rebate, you must first determine by how much the WEP is reducing your Social Security benefit. Your rebate amount will not be determined by your monthly Social Security income, but by how much it is reduced.

 

Current Monthly Reduction Amount (WEP)

Projected Annual Rebate Amount

 

$400

$720

 

$300

$540

 

$200

$360

 

$100

$180

National Average

$270

$486

It is also possible that the rebate will increase over time, to as much as 50 percent of the WEP amount, as the implementation of HR 711 is reviewed by the Social Security Administration.

For future retirees, those who will be age 62 or older as of January 1, 2018, the new Equal Treatment formula will apply. Instead of receiving an annual rebate, those retirees will have their monthly Social Security benefits adjusted using the new, fairer formula. Future retirees who would have been subject to the WEP will be as well off or somewhat better off than current retirees with the passage of HR 711.

In order to provide relief to as many retirees as possible and to prevent harm to retirees who have uncovered service but are not currently subject to the WEP, the amount of the rebate has been reduced from the original projections. TRTA and its partners worked closely with the bill sponsor, Representative Brady, to ensure that current retirees were not suddenly burdened with proving why their non-covered service should not be subject to WEP.

The removal of this enforcement provision from the bill prevents millions of retirees from being harmed by the bill’s passage. This compromise is important to TRTA and its partners, as it removes barriers to passing HR 711 and provides a clearer path for 1.5 million current retirees to receive financial relief in their lifetimes.

Only because of TRTA and its national partners continuing to exert pressure to pass HR 711 will millions of hard-working retirees receive more of their earned Social Security benefits! TRTA and its partners are proud to say that for the first time in 30 years, there will finally be a committee vote on eliminating the arbitrary WEP formula!

How You Can Help

In order to pass HR 711, we need to rally the co-sponsorship of Congressmen from all over the United States. Many of HR 711’s cosponsors are from Texas.  Check out the list below of all Texas Congressmen, their co-sponsor status, and how you can contact them to ask them to support HR 711.

If your local Congressman hasn’t co-sponsored HR 711, give them a call, write them a letter, or visit their website and send them an email directly. Let your voice be heard and help us repeal the WEP.

Please also encourage your friends and family outside of Texas to contact their Congressmen and ask them to support HR 711. In this edition of The VOICE, we sent out a call to action on this very issue. Now is the time to make a change!

The following map allows you to locate and contact your Congressman. To use the map, select your Congressman from the drop-down box. Once selected, click on the isolated district to see the Congressman’s contact information. To return to all districts selected, use the 'Select All' option.

 
Congressman Name District Co-Sponsor Website Phone Number
Louis Gohmert (R - Tyler) 1 YES http://gohmert.house.gov (866) 535-6302
Ted Poe (R - Houston) 2 YES https://poe.house.gov (866) 425-6565
Sam Johnson (R - Plano) 3 YES https://samjohnson.house.gov (202) 225-4201
John Ratcliffe (R - Heath) 4 YES https://ratcliffe.house.gov (202) 225-6673
Jeb Hensarling (R - Dallas) 5 NO https://hensarling.house.gov (202) 225-3484
Joe Barton (R - Arlington) 6 NO http://joebarton.house.gov (202) 225-2002
John Culberson (R - Houston) 7 YES http://culberson.house.gov (202) 225-2571
Kevin Brady (R - The Woodlands) 8 YES https://kevinbrady.house.gov (202) 225-4901
Al Green (D - Houston) 9 YES http://algreen.house.gov (202) 225-7508
Michael McCaul (R - Austin/Houston) 10 YES https://mccaul.house.gov (202) 225-2401
Mike Conaway (R - Midland) 11 YES https://conaway.house.gov (202) 225-3605
Kay Granger (R - Fort Worth) 12 YES http://kaygranger.house.gov (202) 225-5071
Mac Thornberry (R - Amarillo) 13 YES http://thornberry.house.gov (202) 225-3706
Randy Weber (R - Galveston) 14 YES http://weber.house.gov (202) 225-2831
Rubén Hinojosa (D - Edinburg) 15 NO http://hinojosa.house.gov (202) 225-2531
Beto O’Rourke (D - El Paso) 16 YES https://orourke.house.gov (202) 225-4831
Bill Flores (R - Austin) 17 YES http://flores.house.gov (202) 225-6105
Sheila Jackson Lee (D - Houston) 18 YES https://jacksonlee.house.gov (202) 225-3816
Randy Neugebauer (R - Lubbock) 19 YES http://randy.house.gov (202) 225-4005
Joaquin Castro (D - San Antonio) 20 NO https://castro.house.gov (202) 225-3236
Lamar Smith (R - Austin/San Antonio) 21 YES http://lamarsmith.house.gov (202) 225-4236
Pete Olson (R - Sugar Land) 22 YES http://olson.house.gov (202) 225-5951
Will Hurd (R - Helotes) 23 YES https://hurd.house.gov (202) 225-4511
Kenny Marchant (R - Dallas/Fort Worth) 24 YES http://marchant.house.gov (202) 225-6605
Roger Williams (R - Austin) 25 YES https://williams.house.gov (202) 225-9896
Michael Burgess (R - Fort Worth) 26 YES https://burgess.house.gov (202) 225-7772
Blake Farenthold (R - Corpus Christi) 27 YES https://farenthold.house.gov (202) 225-7742
Henry Cuellar (D - Laredo) 28 NO http://cuellar.house.gov (202)-225-1640
Gene Green (D - Houston) 29 YES https://green.house.gov (202) 225-1688
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D - Dallas) 30 NO http://ebjohnson.house.gov (202) 225-8885
John Carter (R - Round Rock) 31 YES http://carter.house.gov (202) 225-3864
Pete Sessions (R - Dallas) 32 YES https://sessions.house.gov (202) 225-2231
Marc Veasey (D - Fort Worth) 33 YES https://veasey.house.gov (202) 225-9897
Filemon Vela Jr. (D - Brownsville) 34 YES http://vela.house.gov (202) 225-9901
Lloyd Doggett (D - Austin/San Antonio) 35 NO http://doggett.house.gov (202) 225-4865
Brian Babin (R - Woodville) 36 YES https://babin.house.gov (202) 225-1555