Social Security Update: Real reform

It is rare, unfortunately, how often we have the opportunity to have real discussions with elected officials about increasing public education employees’ benefits. The state hasn’t given educators a pay raise since 2006, and retiree benefits, while stable, have not increased aside from the issuance of a one-time 13th check.

Today we have the very unique opportunity to move one step closer to undoing the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), the provision in federal Social Security (SS) law that reduces the benefits of thousands of Texas public education employees every year. As we have reported, Congressman Kevin Brady has filed H.R. 711, the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act, that proposes to eliminate the existing WEP and replace it with a new, fairer formula that accurately reflects a retiree’s history of employment and contributions to SS. The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee will be hearing and voting on H.R. 711 this afternoon.

If passed, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that anyone who is retired and affected by the current WEP as of December 31, 2017, along with anyone who turns 62 by December 31, 2017, and has uncovered service but has yet to begin receiving SS benefits will receive an average annual rebate of $486. Some retirees will receive a lower amount. However, those affected most by the WEP will receive a rebate as high as $720. The even better news is that this rebate begins in 2018 and will continue every year for the retiree’s lifetime.

For those future retirees not turning 62 by December 31, 2017, the average yearly SS benefit increase will be approximately $900.

While this is not a complete and full repeal of the WEP, it is most certainly a step forward. What ATPE members have asked for all along is to be treated fairly and to receive the SS benefits they worked for and contributed towards; H.R. 711 achieves this goal.

We will always work toward increasing the livelihood of public education employees. Any benefit increase is well-deserved, and it would be irresponsible to not take the opportunity to increase benefits and create a more equitable system.

Stay tuned to TeachtheVote.org for updates.

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3 thoughts on “Social Security Update: Real reform

  1. Claris Collins

    PLEASE pass this bill!! I retired in May of 2015 with 30 years in public education. I had worked in the medical profession for 10 years, and in several other jobs throughout high school and college. Without saying, I am thankful for my teacher retirement, but am being penalized on my social security because I paid into teacher retirement. (I am getting half of what I should be receiving.) I’m not asking to get SS from a spouse or, as many did using the “loophole”, but on my own work history of paying into SS. Also, many others have left SS paying jobs for a career in education and deserve what they have paid. Educations needs many of those highly qualified folks. So, allow them to have their teacher retirement as well as their SS. There are other areas where retirees are allow to receive both benefits when they have paid into both, without penalty. So, please pass this bill.

    Thanks for your service to our state & country.
    Claris Collins

    Reply
  2. Joanna Bogle

    I have taught in Oklahoma for 18 years and now in Texas for 18 years. I paid in to Social security in Oklahoma for 18 years plus some since I worked before I begin teaching.

    Reply

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