Bipartisan bill would replace Social Security’s formula, known as the Windfall Elimination Provision, that unfairly fails to compensate public servants for work they did in the private sector over the course of their career.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Jodey Arrington (TX-19) introduced the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act, bipartisan legislation to ensure public servants subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) receive their fair share of Social Security benefits in retirement. Millions of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public servants are losing benefits they worked hard to earn because of an outdated, overly complex, and unfair formula used by the Social Security Administration. Rep. Arrington’s Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act updates Social Security’s formula in order to fully compensates our teachers, firefighters, and police officers for the time they worked in the private sector and the taxes they paid into the system.
“Our teachers, firefighters, and police officers shouldn’t have their Social Security checks docked each month on account of an incomplete and outdated formula from the 1980s that shortchanges our seniors.” said Rep. Arrington. “Every month Congress fails to fix this inequity, retirees and their dependents lose precious resources they need and have earned.”
“More than 200,000 Texas retired public educators and more than 2 million public servants nationwide are negatively affected by the unfair and arbitrary Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), which reduces their earned Social Security benefits,” said TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee. “The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) supports the elimination of both the WEP and Government Pension Offset (GPO), and with it a full restoration of benefits for hundreds of thousands of Texas retired public school employees. TRTA hopes to build on the momentum of the last Congress and work with Congressman Jodey Arrington to move toward that ultimate goal.”
Michele Stockwell, President of Bipartisan Policy Center Action said, “BPC Action commends this effort by Reps. Arrington (R-TX) and Gonzalez (D-TX) to improve the fairness of Social Security benefits. The WEP and GPO are complex, in some cases inequitable, and widely misunderstood, but they serve an important—if imperfectly carried out—purpose. That is why it is so important to replace these provisions rather than simply repealing them. Reform proposals like the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act are welcome additions to the mix, and we urge Congress to consider this issue and potential bipartisan solutions expeditiously.”
Judy Kennedy, Retired Brownfield ISD educator & Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) District 17 President said, “I know of so many TRS retirees that have been impacted by WEP and they have had to return to work somewhere else or part time with a school. Some have had to make the decision to pull their TRS and go with Social Security, since they would make more money that way. This needs to be resolved to help all TRS retirees and for future retirees. Thank you, Mr. Arrington, for leading this fight on the WEP legislation.”
Terri Navrkal, Retired Lubbock ISD educator & TRTA State Secretary/Treasurer, “I began contributing to social security at age 16. I even worked a second job to supplement my income when I began teaching in 1981. I gained all the quarters to receive a social security pension when I turned “that magic age” only to find out I would not receive 100% of the benefit because I worked as a Texas teacher and am subject to the WEP. That is just wrong! The many Texas educators affected by this unfair formula are ready to see this travesty end for good. We offer a big thank you to Congressman Arrington for taking on this cause to turn a wrong into a right! We will be working right beside him to get this done, as soon as possible.”
- The WEP was designed by Congress in 1983 to calculate benefits for workers with both Social Security-covered earnings and earnings not subject to Social Security taxes. However, the current method does not accurately account for the entire length of a worker’s work history.
- The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act addresses these shortcomings by replacing the WEP with a new formula that reflects an individual’s actual work history; creating a transition period for current workers; and providing relief to retirees subject to WEP.
- Since coming to Congress, Rep. Arrington has been an original cosponsor on The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act when it was introduced by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) in the 116th and 117th Congresses.