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.

The Texas Retired Teachers Association’s (TRTA) Executive Director Tim Lee spoke with Rep. Kevin Brady (R – The Woodlands) on Facebook Live today about paths to reform the WEP. Brady’s bill, H.R. 3934, proposes to give retirees back more of their hard-earned Social Security earnings.

The full video is available here.

The WEP is particularly harmful to many retired Texas educators. 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.

Lee and Brady discussed how Brady has worked to develop H.R. 3934 based on feedback from many public worker groups, and it’s designed to help the most possible active educators and retired educators.

“Social Security is too complicated,” Brady said. “That’s why it causes so many unintended consequences.” He said the WEP “has punished the people we ought to be rewarding.”

Brady’s goal is to advance WEP reform this year. He said the WEP has a huge impact on about 12 states. “We’ve really got to build full support within our states.”

One of the more contentious points that retiree groups have disagree upon when discussing WEP reform has centered around the idea of full repeal. Some groups feel that WEP reform should only occur if it’s a full repeal of the provision. However, Brady dissuaded that notion by stating that in the 37 years WEP has been in place, no piece of legislation concerning full repeal has gained traction. “The other states where this isn’t a big issue, they’re never going to adopt this approach.”

Brady said that his approach has been to develop legislation that all parties can get behind and will gain the forward momentum necessary to be signed into law.

Brady believes that all of the pieces are in place to move WEP reform forward. “I’m absolutely convinced we can get this done… I know it’s a little easy to look back and get discouraged or disheartened by this, but if it’s worth doing, it’s worth just staying at it until we get it done.”

TRTA has formed a national coalition with the Mass Retirees dedicated to reforming the WEP. Learn more about our national coalition here.

Show your support for WEP reform by contacting them and asking them to sign on to either Rep. Richie Neal’s bill, H.R. 4540, or Brady’s bill, H.R. 3934.

It’s critical to get as many congressional Representatives signed on to these bills as possible. You can find your Representative’s contact information here.

Currently, there’s only one congressional member on the House Ways and Means Committee that has not signed on to either bill, Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett. If you want WEP reform to move forward, please contact Rep. Doggett and ask him to take action on this very important issue!

Below you’d find the full list of Texas Representatives and the bills they’ve cosponsored.

Name Phone Number Signed HR 4540 (Neal) Signed HR 3934 (Brady)
Jodey Arrington (202) 225-4005 No Yes
Kenny Marchant (202) 225-6605 No Yes
Kevin Brady (202) 225-4901 No Yes
Lloyd Doggett (202) 225-4865 No No

 

Name Phone Number Signed HR 4540 (Neal) Signed HR 3934 (Brady)
Al Green (202) 225-7508 Yes No
Bill Flores (202) 225-6105 No Yes
Brian Babin (202) 225-1555 No Yes
Chip Roy (202) 225-4236 No Yes
Colin Allred (202) 225-2231 Yes No
Dan Crenshaw (202) 225-6565 No Yes
Eddie Johnson (202) 225-8885 Yes No
Filemon Vela (202) 225-9901 Yes Yes
Henry Cuellar (202) 225-1640 Yes Yes
Joaquin Castro (202) 225-3236 Yes No
John Carter (202) 225-3864 No Yes
John Ratcliffe (202) 225-6673 No Yes
Kay Granger (202) 225-5071 No Yes
Lance Gooden (202) 225-3484 Yes Yes
Lizzie Fletcher (202) 225-2571 Yes No
Louie Gohmert (202) 225-3035 No Yes
Mac Thornberry (202) 225-3706 No No
Marc Veasey (202) 225-9897 Yes No
Michael Burgess (202) 225-7772 No Yes
Michael Cloud (202) 225-7742 No Yes
Michael Conaway (202) 225-3605 No Yes
Michael McCaul (202) 225-2401 No Yes
Pete Olson (202) 225-5951 No Yes
Randy Weber (202) 225-2831 No Yes
Roger Williams (202) 225-9896 No Yes
Ron Wright (202) 225-2002 No Yes
Sheila Jackson Lee (202) 225-3816 Yes No
Sylvia Garcia (202) 225-1688 Yes No
Van Taylor (202) 225-4201 No Yes
Veronica Escobar (202) 225-4831 Yes No
Vicente Gonzalez (202) 225-2531 Yes Yes
Will Hurd (202) 225-4511 No Yes