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Solving the WEP Problem

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By Randy Weber

Congressman (R, TX-14)

            For too long now—three decades—our dedicated public servants have been trapped in a one-size-fits-all approach to calculating their Social Security benefits.  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firefighters, police officers, and other public servants are losing benefits they worked hard to earn because of an outdated, overly complex, and unfair formula used by the Social Security Administration.  That formula is known as the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

            The WEP affects 208,368 Texans—the second largest population in the country, only behind California.

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.  Under current law, WEP and the government pension offset (GPO) reduce Social Security benefits for individuals who receive a government pension based on certain employment not covered under the Social Security program.  In layman’s terms, the distinction penalizes tens of thousands of Texas’ public servants, when they should receive Social Security benefits in accordance with their actual work history.

On September 5, 2023, I joined Rep. Jodey Arrington (TX-19) and several of our colleagues in Congress to introduce the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act (H.R. 5342).  This bipartisan legislation will ensure that public servants subject to the WEP will receive their fair share of Social Security benefits in retirement.  It will update Social Security’s formula in order to fully compensate our teachers, firefighters, and police officers for the time they worked in the private sector and the taxes they paid into the system.  The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act addresses the WEP’s shortcomings by replacing it 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.

We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our public servants, who have dedicated their lives to educating our youth, safeguarding our communities, and providing essential services that keep our nation running smoothly.  It is our moral obligation to ensure that these citizens are rewarded not only during their active years of service but also in their retirement.

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