For many years, bills have been filed at the federal level to eliminate or revise the two penalties that reduce Social Security benefits for most Texas teachers. (These offsets also affect other public employees, including some police, firefighters and municipal employees, in Texas and several other states.)

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) affects those who have earned Social Security benefits through other employment but become eligible for a pension through their work in a government position in which they do not participate in Social Security (e.g., most Texas public schools). Click here for more information.  

The Government Pension Offset (GPO) affects those who are eligible for Social Security benefits through their spouse and receive a pension based on their work in a government position not participating in Social Security. Click here for more information.

In the 2015-16 Congress, several bills have been filed to help the public employees who are affected by these offsets:

S. 1651, the Social Security Fairness Act of 2015

  • Would eliminate both the GPO and WEP.
  • Sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
  • Referred to Committee on Finance, no hearing scheduled as of June 2016.
  • 24 co-sponsors; none from Texas.

H.R. 973, the Social Security Fairness Act of 2015

  • Would eliminate both the GPO and WEP.
  • Sponsored by Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL).
  • Referred to Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, no hearing scheduled as of June 2016.
  • 152 co-sponsors, including six from Texas: Reps. Burgess, Culberson, Doggett, Neugebauer, O’Rourke and Veasey.

H. R. 711, the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2015

  • Would revise the calculation of the Windfall Elimination Provision to a more fair formula; does not address the GPO. More information is available here
  • Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX).
  • Referred to Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, related hearing held in March 2016 but no action taken as of June 2016. 
  • 110 co-sponsors, including 28 from Texas: Reps. Babin, Burgess, Carter, Conaway, Culberson, Farenthold, Flores, Gohmert, Granger, Al Green, Gene Green, Hurd, Jackson Lee, Johnson, Marchant, McCaul, Neugebauer, O’Rourke, Olson, Poe, Ratcliffe, Sessions, Smith, Thornberry, Veasey, Vela, Weber, and Williams.

H. R. 4728, the SWEPT Act of 2016

  • Would revise the formula for calculating the WEP to (1) lower from 30 to 25 the number of years of coverage required for exception to the WEP, (2) lower the penalty for those with between 20 and 25 years of coverage, and (3) reduce the amount of earnings subject to Social Security taxes required to constitute an applicable year of Social Security coverage.
  • Sponsored by Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA).
  • Referred to Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, no hearing scheduled as of June 2016.
  • No co-sponsors.