Texas Congressman files new bill, with ATPE support, to help educators with Social Security

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.

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12 thoughts on “Texas Congressman files new bill, with ATPE support, to help educators with Social Security

    1. Josh Sanderson

      Donna,

      If you have not contributed to Social Security for the required 40 quarters then you do not qualify for your own Social Security benefits and the legislation proposed by Congressman Brady would not affect you. You may be eligible for spousal benefits, but this legislation does not address that provision of the law.

      Reply
  1. Elaine Hutzelman

    Thanks to these 2 gentlemen who recognize the unfairness in the WEP. We worked many years for our Social Security and are entitled to all of it- we earned it, yet do not receive what is due.

    Reply
  2. J.T.

    I worked over ten years in the private sector before becoming a teacher. It isn’t fair I should be penalized for having a career in education. Thank you to Mr Brady and all those who are fighting to repeal the WEP.

    Reply
    1. Josh Sanderson

      June,

      This legislation does not address the Government Pension Offset (GPO), which affects spousal benefits. We continue to advocate for repeal or reform of the GPO as well, but there is a significant cost involved.

      Reply
  3. Barbara Jo Green

    I earned 44 quarters for Social Security only to learn that my second career as an educator prevented me from drawing SS.
    I draw $1600 from TRS monthly with only around $1200 deposited in my bank after taxes and health insurance. House payment, utilities, food, prescriptions, and using my 2005 car cost me more than is deposited.
    I thought I would receive the FICA money taken from my paycheck when I retired. It could make the difference.
    Why are so many people drawing SS, without paying into it, but I am not allowed to put together the two retirements I thought I had earned, so I can live without choosing between medicine or another necessity?

    Reply
  4. Josh Sanderson

    Barbara Jo:

    Being eligible for a pension through TRS does not preclude you from receiving your Social Security benefits. It does make you susceptible to the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision, which can reduce your benefits, but your Social Security is not eliminated. If you are having problems with Social Security or have any questions please let us know.

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Legislative Update: TX Congressman pursues Social Security fix, NCLB talks continue in Washington, plus more TX Legislature news | Teach the Vote

  6. Jtivy

    I have read your bill and understand if it takes effect it will no be til 2017. That’s to long, if it wrong it’s wrong now and should take effect now. Many of us who are are effected by this are on fixed incomes and waiting two years will be hard. Also many of us may not be around two years to and will never see the injustice corrected. Make it happen now.

    Reply

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