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Legislative Updates

Bipartisan bill would repeal WEP penalties to Social Security

Reps. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Richard Neal (D-MA), both senior members of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2015 (H.R. 711) on February 2, 2015. The bill would alter the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) to treat letter carriers and other federal employees who paid into Social Security the same as other American workers. WEP was first enacted in 1983 and reduces the Social Security benefits of those receiving annuity under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and those who also earn Social Security benefits from other employment.

Currently, nearly 36,000 letter carriers are covered under the CSRS. Those who were subject to the Social Security payroll tax during other jobs are potentially subject to WEP at retirement and may see reductions to their Social Security benefits by as much as $413 a month. Instead, H.R. 711 would base Social Security on real life earnings and work history instead.

Approximately 85 percent of NALC’s 75,000 retired letter carriers are also affected by this bill, as they receive CSRS benefits. Of those, 90 percent also qualify for Social Security benefits and, consequently, are also subject to the WEP reduction.

“Those who teach our children and protect and serve us every day deserve equal treatment when they retire,” Brady said. “Social Security benefits should be based on your real-life contributions, not some arbitrary formula."

“If Americans are going to enjoy their golden years financially secure and comfortable, they must have a sound retirement plan,” Neal said.

After being introduced, the bill was referred to the full House Ways and Means Committee and has since had 60 other House members from both parties sign as cosponsors. Despite the bill being introduced by House leadership, similar legislation has been introduced annually and the NALC does not anticipate it to become a priority during the 114th Congress.

For more information about WEP, click here.

To view the NALC’s fact sheet regarding this issue, click here.

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