WEP Reform Now! It’s Time to Cut a Deal
Retirement | TRS | Social Security Congress | Federal
Date Posted: 3/17/2022
The Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) and the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) joined forces today along with the Massachusetts Retirees Association (MRA) to push congressional leaders to cut a deal on Social Security reform that would help public workers affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).
ATPE and TRTA represent nearly 200,000 active and retired public school educators in Texas, making them the largest independent, state-run groups representing active and retired teachers in the nation.
The WEP uses an arbitrary formula to reduce benefits for public workers who qualify for Social Security, usually through employment in a second job, but did not pay into the system for a minimum of 30 years because their public school employers did not participate in the federal program.
TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee explained: “Texas educators have been working for many years to find relief from this provision, which often has devastating effects on retirees who were counting on Social Security income to bolster their TRS retirement benefits. Their Social Security benefits are drastically less than what they were expecting, making it hard for them to afford the increasing costs of living in today’s world.”
Massachusetts and Texas are two out of 13 states with policies adopted in the 1980s that allowed public employers to leave the Social Security program. This association partnership is significant as top-ranking members of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richie Neal (D-Massachusetts) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-Texas) are inches from agreement on their versions of a fix that will help public workers in all 13 states.
ATPE Executive Director Shannon Holmes noted: “Rep. Brady first filed legislation in 2007, and Mr. Neal came on board a few years later as he rose in the ranks of the committee. The bills are very close, and we believe now is the time to bridge the gap between them and move the legislation through Congress. Rep. Brady has announced his retirement at the end of his current term. Time is of the essence, and we urge them to come together and take action.”
The groups sent a joint letter to both congressional leaders that offered a detailed compromise that may be acceptable to bridge the gaps between their bills (HR 2337 by Neal and HR 5834 by Brady). See attached letter for more details of the proposed compromise.
About the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE)
Founded in 1980, ATPE is the leading educators’ association in Texas with approximately 100,000 members statewide. With its strong collaborative philosophy, ATPE speaks for classroom teachers, administrators, and future, retired, and para-educators and works to create better opportunities for Texas’ five million public school students. | atpe.org
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