Thursday, March 17, 2016

Congressional Hearing on the Windfall Elimination Provision, March 22th





Please tell your Congress person to send someone to the Ways and Means Committee Meeting NEXT TUESDAY, March 22, at 10:00 AM EDT in Room B-318 Rayburn House Building to find out about H.R. 711.

Kevin Brady (R-TX) has said for many years that although the idea of the WEP is correct, the formula for it is not. Brady has been trying to find a way to change the formula. Last year he introduced H.R. 711 which relies on the increased employment data that Social Security now has to better enforce the offsets (collect money from people who might have been missed) and to lower the financial penalty for the majority of retirees. The result would be a change in the penalty with no expected extra cost to the Social Security budget.

Since Rep. Brady is now Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives, he can move things along. Next Tuesday they will be holding a hearing on his bill, H.R. 711, which replaces the Windfall Elimination Provision and is projected to cut the amount of the penalty for public workers not yet retired by 50% and for people already retired by about 30%. Although most of our Representatives do not belong to the Ways and Means Committee, they can send an aide to follow the proceedings and hopefully gain a better understanding of our issue.

WHAT TO DO:
  • Please call your representative.  Go to house.gov (if you don’t already have their number saved on your phone) and find their website.
  • Ask for their Legislative Aide who deals with Social Security.  Tell them that H.R. 711 could make a huge difference for public retirees without increasing costs, and you want to know what they think of the bill.
  • Ask them to please have someone attend the meeting to figure out whether they can support it.
  • Tell them that you will call back next week to see what they have found out.
Forward them our questions, the results of our survey, and the official announcement of the meeting below. The call for signatures on the Repeal the WEP/GPO petition on the White House website got more than 1,000 new signatures in less than 2 days.  Thank you.



Please send the material below to your legislator. Some questions that we would like to have answered about the bill:
  1. As the new process is implemented, are there additional newly-retired people who would be included in the offset pool who haven’t been affected in the past?
a. Would people who earned a pension but took their money out of the retirement system after a few years now be affected?

b. What about those people who contributed to the pension system but never became vested? Would they be affected also?
  1. Would people who are already retired, and who have not been penalized by the WEP, be affected by this bill?
3. How does this new formula deal with low-income people?  There was a bill proposed some years ago which put a limit on the retirement amount that could fall under the WEP, e.g., if your pension were less than $1,000 a month the offset wouldn’t apply.  (One of our members has only a $900 teaching pension, and her earned Social Security benefits should be $600 a year, but they were cut to $300.  We have Louisiana school bus drivers on our email list who are affected by the WEP!)…

The following is information about Tuesday’s hearing from the Ways and Means Committee: click here. 

Chairman Johnson Announces Hearing on Social Security and Public Servants, Ensuring Equal Treatment.
House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) announced today [March 16] that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Social Security and Public Servants: Ensuring Equal Treatment.” The hearing will focus on Social Security provisions that affect certain public employees, as well as proposals for calculating public employees’ benefits in a proportional manner.  

The hearing will take place on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 in B-318 Rayburn House Building, beginning at 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time.

Here is a link to the Ways and Means website where you will be able to watch the hearing: click here.

In view of the limited time to hear witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. However, any individual or organization may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.


The above information is from Social Security Fairness.

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