The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) is a unfair Social Security issue that negatively impacts thousands of retired educators nationwide, including educators that have paid into the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) as well as Social Security.
Progress on reforming the WEP has been slow and arduous ever since it was since enacted in 1983. Congressman Kevin Brady (R – The Woodlands) has made significant headway on the issue over the past few years. His latest bill proposal is H.R. 3934. He held a town hall meeting today, August 12, in Montgomery, Texas discussing the issue.
The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) has been one of the primary advocates in seeking reform for the WEP. TRTA has worked closely with Brady over the years to provide feedback and testimony on the WEP.
The WEP reduces the amount of Social Security public servants receive by using an arbitrary formula to reduce their earned benefits. The WEP 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.
Approximately 85 stakeholders attended the meeting, which quickly became a standing-room-only venue. Brady laid out his plan for reforming the WEP, which includes working with Rep. Richard Neal (D – Massachusetts). Neal serves as the Chairman for the congressional House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees Social Security issues.
Brady also fielded questions regarding his bill and the WEP. He encouraged stakeholders to contact their congressmen about the issue. You can find out who represents you here. You can view the bill’s current cosponsors here. In addition to receiving support in the U.S. House of Representatives, Brady mentioned that both Senators John Cornyn (R – Texas) and Ted Cruz (R – Texas) have signaled their support for WEP reform.
While most Texas educators pay into TRS as their sole form of retirement, many others have paid into both TRS and Social Security, and these educators have their Social Security cut by an arbitrary amount. The WEP has significant impact on their retirement income, and many retired educators impacted are caught off-guard when they receive their Social Security check.
The next step for Brady is to confer with Neal on the bill structure. Additionally, Brady will be seeking the buy-in of all stakeholder groups, including the national firefighters’ group, many of which also have thousands of members impacted by the WEP.