Last week, ATPE lobbyists held several meetings with members of the Texas Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., to discuss proposed changes to Social Security laws, specifically, the controversial Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). The WEP is a provision of federal Social Security law that affects thousands of school district employees across Texas. ATPE has long advocated primarily for fully repealing the WEP to increase the amount of Social Security benefits educators may receive; however, because of the high cost associated with full repeal, we have proposed taking gradual steps, both to make the WEP’s application of benefits fairer and to increase benefits when possible.
Legislation filed by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) last Wednesday, Nov. 12, proposes to replace the existing arbitrary, punitive formula with a revised calculation of benefits. Brady’s new bill, called the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act, could increase the average retiree’s Social Security benefits by approximately $212 a month. Congressman Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts) is the bipartisan bill’s co-author. ATPE and the Texas Retired Teachers Association have worked closely with Congressman Brady on this proposed legislation.
On Nov. 12 and 13, ATPE lobbyists met with 12 members of the Texas delegation to discuss our position on the WEP and ask them to support Brady’s bill. It is likely that this proposal will not be acted upon until Congress returns from recess after the Christmas holidays. ATPE will continue to communicate with Congressman Brady and Texas’ elected officials in Congress to advocate for the passage of this bill and any other legislation that would increase educators’ benefits.
Read Congressman’s Brady’s press release about the bill here. Stay tuned to Teach the Vote for updates about the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act.