(April 13, 2021) The office of Rep. Richard Neal, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, released the following press release on the introduction of another bill designed to fix the disparity between retirement benefits received by retirees who also receive a public pension. The provision, commonly known as the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), substantially reduces the amount of benefit these retirees earn despite the fact they qualified for larger Social Security payments based on their private sector work experience.
Many attempts have been made over the years to reform this inequity but without success. This bill may be the best chance yet to gain the reforms PERI and other groups have long desired. With the influence of Rep. Neal and a Congress that may be more receptive to this initiative than in years past, we will keep the pressure on to help members receive the full benefits they earned. OPERS has also signed on as a supporter of this bill.
PERI urges you to call your U.S. Representative today and register your support for this legislation. Simply share that you want them to support the “Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act,” also known as H.R. 2337, sponsored by Chairman Neal and sign on as a co-sponsor if they haven’t already done so. Also ask your representative to encourage House leadership to push for a vote out of committee and the full House of Representatives.
To find the name and phone number for your member of Congress, call the U.S House of Representatives switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and they will be able to assist you. If you have internet access, you may also visit www.house.gov and insert your zip code in the “find your representative” box on the upper right hand portion of the web page and call or email your representative.
PERI will keep you informed of progress or other action that may be needed as the legislation progresses through Congress.
NEAL REINTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO FIX SOCIAL SECURITY WEP PROVISION, IMPROVE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES’ RETIREMENT SECURITY
Apr 1, 2021
SPRINGFIELD, MA—Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) reintroduced his groundbreaking legislation, the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act of 2021, to fix the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) for future retirees and provide meaningful relief to current WEP retirees. The bill ensures that public servants across the nation can retire with the security and dignity they deserve.
The legislation establishes a new, fairer formula that will pay Social Security benefits in proportion to the share of a worker’s earnings that were covered for Social Security purposes. This provision is coupled with a benefit guarantee ensuring no benefit cuts relative to current law for all current and future retirees. Current WEP retirees will receive $150 a month in relief payments.
“The Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act garnered more support in Congress last year than any previous WEP reform bill. This year, I look forward to building on that momentum to advance the bill even further, and we’re off to a running start with 139 original cosponsors,” said Chairman Neal. “The WEP negatively affects nearly 2 million retired public servants across the country, including 83,000 in Massachusetts. Public employees like firefighters, teachers, and police officers should not miss out on the Social Security benefits they earned over decades of hard work. With this legislation, these valued members of our communities will have greater retirement security and peace of mind.”
Originally, the WEP was intended to equalize the Social Security benefit formula for workers with similar earnings histories, both inside and outside of the Social Security system. However, in practice, it unfairly penalizes many public employees. The much-needed reforms in this bill provide meaningful WEP relief to current retirees and public employees while treating all workers fairly.
“Members on both sides of the aisle can get behind this legislation and the solutions it puts forward,” added Chairman Neal. “I want to commend Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Kevin Brady for his longstanding work to address the WEP issue. I appreciate his commitment to fixing this problem, and look forward to working with him to move a solution through Congress expediently.”