After years of inaction, the issue of Social Security fairness for public employees – including Texas teachers – was considered by a Congressional subcommittee on Tuesday, March 22, 2016.

Texas Congressman Kevin Brady has long supported a revision of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), the federal penalty that affects Social Security benefits earned by an employee who also works in a government position in which he/she does not pay into Social Security. This federal law and the Government Pension Offset (GPO), which applies to spousal benefits, have often come as an unpleasant surprise to Texas school employees who were unaware of the potential loss or significant reduction of Social Security benefits they expected to receive.

Brady’s solution is to repeal the WEP and recalculate how benefits would be provided to school employees who were previously affected by the WEP, such as second-career teachers. Rather than a one-size-fits-all reduction, his bill, HR 711 (co-authored by Congressman Richard Neal of Massachusetts), would use actual salary information for each individual to fairly determine the amount of Social Security to which the employee would be entitled.

Brady was recently named the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, opening the door for potential action on his bill. Another Texas Congressman, Sam Johnson, chairs the Social Security subcommittee and scheduled the Tuesday hearing.

The hearing is not limited to a specific piece of legislation but encompasses the overall issue of equal treatment of public employees. Workers across the country are affected by the WEP and GPO, including school employees in Texas and several other states, firefighters, police, and other public employees. See a recent TCTA article on the issue here.

For a summary of the March 22 hearing, click here.

Comments can be submitted to the committee through April 5 (click on the attachment below for information on how to provide your input). TCTA is submitting remarks on behalf of our members in support of repeal of the WEP and GPO and in support of HR 711.

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