Education News

H.R. 4540 begins to fix problems caused by Social Security’s WEP

Nearly 2 million retired educators and other public employees would benefit from fixes to Social Security’s Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) made by the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act (H.R. 4540), introduced by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) on Sept. 27. Among those subject to the WEP, current retirees would get an extra $150 a month and future retirees an average of $75 a month. Moreover, the bill includes a guarantee that no one would get less than the amount provided under current law. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefits of people who work in jobs covered by Social Security and jobs NOT covered by Social Security over the course of their careers—for example, educators compelled to take part-time or summer jobs to make ends meet. After years of congressional inaction, this bill is a step in the right direction. NEA continues to push for full repeal of the WEP and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) that reduces the Social Security spousal or survivor benefits of people not covered by Social Security themselves.

Tell your representative to support H.R. 4540.


Take Action: Support H.R. 4540 to ensure public employees get the Social Security benefits they have earned

102 responses to “H.R. 4540 begins to fix problems caused by Social Security’s WEP

  1. I am a little confused on this bill HR 4540 the way I am reading this is anyone that’s going to start collecting there SS benefits in 2022 they would calculate your SS with the PSP an the WEP and if the PSP is lower then the WEP then you would get the higher amount between the 2 I may not be reading this right and another one that I am not sure of is it said if you had more then 30 years paying into SS then you would not be subject to either the PSP or WEP because right now with the way the WEP works they calculate my SS and reduce my SS by the number of years you didn’t have substantial income I had 34 years paying into SS but I lose 6 of those years because of the WEP, so with this bill HR 4540 will they not reduce my SS because I had over 30 years and they don’t use the WEP reduction formula or will they use the PSP and the WEP formula and what ever comes out higher I will get that amount because if they do it this way there is a chance I will lose the same amount that I am going to lose already and if that’s the case what good is this new bill going to do a lot of people will still lose money maybe I just don’t understand how this new bill will work I still get this funny feeling a lot of people will still get the shaft and that’s sad.

    1. And reading more about this HR 4540 bill so if your retired now you would get an extra 150 dollars a month were as everybody else that retires later, on average gets 75 dollars a month how is this fair? The best way they can do this to make it fair is just to repeal this stupid WEP and GPO and give everyone the amount that they are supposed to get not a penny more or a penny less that’s the fair way of doing it but that makes to much sense to these morons that run are country and that’s the problem to much stupid going on in this country no fix for it.

  2. I called SS last week and wanted to find out what kind of hit I will take when I start collecting my SS with the WEP and the response I got was well it’s not to bad your only going to lose about 70 dollars a month I had 34 years paying into that rip off system and they reduced my SS 6 years so I ended up with 28 years I know my OPERS pension isn’t going to be no more then 520 dollars and my SS will be 970 dollars so the way I look at it is that extra 70 dollars could of been a big help to me, but another problem with SS I get screwed with the WEP and if I want to go out and work when I am 62 if I am collecting SS they have a limit that you can make before they reduce your SS what’s it to them how much money I am making I will still be paying into SS what a joke of a system you get screwed anyway you turn.

    1. I was a part-time lower wage earner choosing to stay at home with my children rather than put them in day care. My husband was the larger wage earner. So my wage earning was not “substantial.” I went to live in the United Kingdom and was employed for 11 years paying into the UK system. Social Security wants to reduce my $663.00 a month to $330.00 a month because I will be entitled to a UK pension based on 11 years employment. Has anyone heard of anything as ludicrous as this? I was employed in another country participating in their national insurance system– yet Social Security feels my payment should be reduced by half because of this. It is not only teachers and public employees that are effected by WEP. But Americans living and working abroad who have no representation– yet still have to file taxes every year. America is one of ONLY TWO countries in the world who tax its citizens based on citizenship rather than residency.

  3. Workers in America continue to be penalized by this law. I spent a total of 51 years of my life working to prepare myself financially to care for those years when I was no longer able to work. 24 of those years were spent in the federal workforce. I receive a very modest retirement based upon those years of service under CSRS. The next 27 years were spent working for employers who had salary monies withheld for Social Security. Because my total years of coverage do not meet or exceed 30 I am subject to reduction of my Social Security retirement because of WEP.

    Elected officials give only “lip service” to advancing legislation to correct this situation because those workers subject to this constitute only a very small block of voters who keep these people in Congress year after year. Will HR 4540 ever get to become law? I hope so. At 75 I don’t know how many more years I will be around to see a change…

    1. Your so right Stephen this government keeps taking from lower end people they don’t give a rats ass about us you work your ass off most of your life and all they do is take a little more from you and before you know it all your hard work and long hours are for nothing all you can do is watch as they give your money to people and other countries that didn’t do nothing to earn it I am sick of it and the bad thing is it’s never going to stop because the corruption and stealing in are own government will never go away not unless every American in this county stands up to them and say no more we’ve had enough of your bs.

      1. Would you please be totally candid—-Will the WEP be repealed so we may acquire our duly deserved ( FULL ) compensation of SS benefits of with we paid into the fund for many years with out penalty of WEP ?????
        PLAIN AND SIMPLE………..YES OR NO
        YES OR NO……………..
        JUST PLAIN SIMPLE—— YES OR NO………….

      2. You said it correctly!!
        If it was there retirement you can bet it would be passed thru. American voters need to stand up and say enough is enough by voting them out

  4. My husband and I are both former state and town employees…and also eligable for Social Security. We are now 77 and beginning to feel the loss of our full benefits, especially when we add up total loss plus the amount my husband pays Medicare “out of pocket” to make up for lost SS benefits…$853 this year.
    We thought this issue would be cleared up by now. I, personally, am uncomfortable trying to get more money because we live a moderate good life and are grateful for our great reasonable health insurance.
    I guess what really bothers us is that SS is a Federal program but only 6 states involved. Plus I am privy to other government programs that are funded beyond what appears reasonable.
    One last statement…..I think the new tax laws primarily helping the rich ( also helped us because we are home owners ) really brought to the front the injustice of WEP and GPO….seems like a “no brainer” to use the vernacular.
    I would not even put these feelings in words if I thought our money was doing some good for immigrants, etc.

  5. i retired from the postal service on 2003 since them i listen to the same thing over and over no matter democrats or republicans no body have done anything for us i am very tired of the same. i also lost my husband social security thanks to gpo. i really need to received that extra money .

  6. Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter were responsible for cutting the earned Social Security benefits for teachers, police and others. Some members of our lying congress pretend to be concerned and submit bills for supposed “fairness.” Those bills have been submitted for years but NEVER NEVER leave committee. It’s a game to garner votes. Meanwhile the rats in government are more concerned with sending aid to Ukraine and giving free health care to illegals. Our government is corrupt from top to bottom.

  7. It is not Ronald Reagan only that has caused us to lose income and end up living in poverty.
    It is racism, antiSemitism, hatred ; myths, lies that brought us to poverty, inabililty to be hired full time for teaching jobs and let us make it up to the people of color,for example, that were terrorized, men and women who were assaulted, killed and now the government wants to make it up to them by exclusion policies,racial preference,, lies told… Yes, the Jewish people have the longest history of terror, murder, subjected to lies suffering. I have four academic degrees and was hired to teach history in six colleges with the adjunct position- sexists in my family must be delighted I was not able to be hire full time in one job.I had to retrain and was hired in public libaries. Union members did nothing to correct the treatment I received. They told me not to speak up at a meeting with the then director
    who wanted me out due to age and physical disabilities.I was working in the public sector in libraries and knew nothing about WEP-GPO. When I was forced to retire.I learned what total poverty is. The government offiicals seek to. be elected and climb the. ladder of government positions: up to president of the United States. Letters I sent were in vain.
    I am sad for all of us. who are living this hell .
    Dr.Lois Wasserman, Historian,
    Scholar on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s nonviolent philosophy and strategy.
    adjunct professor in six universities.

  8. Carters GPO and Reagan’s WEP were sold as a “windfall” penalty tax to prevent “ double dipping” and solely against those public servants who expected Social Security income as a part of their retirement portfolio.
    Who doesn’t “double dip” for retirement income?

    1. Don’t you love it, Regan who stole from the working class to give to the rich, got a free funeral from the working class taxpayers he ripped off. We are living in a feudalistic period of rich lords pillaging, and supression of the surf working class.

      1. You are so right these politicians never have a problem coming after the lower people and take are money they do it with out a care or thought. I know I already took a reduction with my OPERS pension and with the WEP I will take another hit there also, I don’t know why everybody in this country don’t stand up to these people and go after there pensions and health care and see how they like getting screwed everyday but I guess that will never happen were to worried about impeachment and other things when we should be worried about our self, to the politicians we are just expendable assets that’s all we are and ever have been as long as you work and pay your taxes and vote for these jerks that’s all they care about but when you get old and can’t work anymore you mean nothing to them it’s a sad country we live in and it’s only going to get worse not unless we do something about it and I don’t care who we put in there it’s always going to be the same they take care of there own and screw the rest and that goes for both parties there both the same they screw most of the American people and they do it with a smile on there face.

  9. The current law is a discrimination against those who work in service to their communities. I worked in both the public and private sectors and should not be penalized for working to try to insure a comfortable retirement. If a person works for two private sector companies and receives pensions from both, he/she is not penalized. It should be the same for those who have both public and private service.

    1. I fear Congress will make a grand stand if they truly repeal ,”windfall”. It will seem like a great gain for all of us affected.
      However, I been trying to understand the proposed new formula. It is so confusing, and it still seems to be discriminatory. Just give us the benefits due us. How can they justify taking 2/3 of someone’s benefit? It’s so wrong. I do not feel like my government benefit is a “windfall” of income in today’s world.

  10. Listen people our human rights are being violated because of the wep. Ronald Reagan did a disservice to the elderly when he enacted wep . He also took 3.6 trillion dollars from SSA. Starving in ky because of wep. Help us. We are elderly humans. We should be treated equally. We are not a 3rd world country. We as elderly Americans need equal treatment. American is always helping other countries
    Help is needed at home.

  11. I started receiving widow’s benefit Social Security and PERS when I turned 60. I needed to collect both in order to get my medical benefit. Since I have PERS my SS benefit is reduced by 75% of my PERS benefit. Every year I receive COLA of $27 from PERS that I report to SS so they can take away $18.
    My husband died young but was entitled to full SS benefit of which I receive approximately half. When that is reduced by my 14 years in the public sector my benefit is not a living income. I also have the minimum required quarters for SS but I would receive even less if I used my own benefit.

    1. I am in the same situation. They need to completely repel the wep
      It’s not fair to us that has worked all your life and not get what they are intitled to. I was wondering when Reagan changed the law on public employees. I didn’t know how it would affect us at the time. It needs fully repealed. HR 454 is only a bandaid. They want to make us feel they care. No one cares about seniors. The government cuts every thing that deals with the older workers. Let’s repel.

  12. I worked in a public sector agency and paid into social security a total of 26 years. I also worked in another public agency where social security was not deducted sufficient years to earn a separate pension. I am presently being penalized under WEP for not contributing into social security a total of 30 years. Very unfair system as I believe all social security retirees who have fully contributed should receive their full benefits and not be subject to WEP just because they are also receiving a second pension

    1. The problem is that Social Security benefits are calculated at different percentages of average monthly lifetime earnings so as to help low income people. For example, the first $900 or so of average income gets a 90% return.

      When people have a second, unreported income source, their lifetime earnings known to Social Security make them seem “poorer” than they are.

      Other people sacrifice their own pension amount so as to give a boost to people with low incomes. The result is unfair,

      1. If you go into the actual calculation for SSA they take the highest 35 years of employment to get an average and then multiply the percentages. If you have no wages that did not have SSA take out then those years are entered as zeros dollars. The penalty is built into the system. What WEP does is one step further, they take the already reduced amount (the average with all of the zero dollars) and reduce it further. The reduction is taken from the SSA that I actually contributed. So along with a small government pension I am being penalized twice; once for being a public servant most of my life and earning a much smaller wage than private and then take away what I did earn.

        I have a retirement income of $2400 from my government jobs, and SSA $987, this has been reduced by $413. This amounts to about a 12% reduction over all, or about 35% reduction in my SSA. When they are talking about retirement incomes from public employees, we are not talking about pensions of $100,000.

        So although it sounds like government employees are getting extra dollars, in reality they are having ssa benefits that they actually earned reduced.

        1. Thank you for taking time to reply. The WEP reduction is obviously painful, but it seems there is still misunderstanding in your calculations.
          First, EVERYBODY has SSA benefits calculated on their 35 best years. You can work from the legal age, usually 16, to well over 70 (the age when delaying the start of benefits no longer increases them). At an extreme employment lifetime of 16-70, that’s 54 years. The best 35 are counted, so in the example there could be 19 years of $0 income (54-35) that would not count against the calculation.

          For the rest, a $0 year is not a “penalty” for people with non-covered income. It is a year they work and contribute to another pension. It is surely no discriminatory compared to people with low income. For example, a person who has $0 because of being unable to find employment or who doesn’t earn enough to qualify for credits, ALSO has a $0 year among the 35 “best.”

          I’ll mention but not discuss the fact that public employment may produce lower salaries than comparable private sector jobs, but the usual trade-off is more job security and rules for promotion and salary increases,

          The fundamental problem is that you make claims about Social Security that are not valid. You may earn credits, but you have no right to the benefits –in the sense that you are NOT contributing to a pension system in which you become vested. If you die the day before you intended to start benefits, in general you “lose” what you contributed. If you live to 100, you get far more than you contributed, all inflation taken into account.

          NOBODY’s benefit is really based on what was put in. If you’re lifetime low income, you get back 90%. If your lifetime income is higher, you move to the next bracket and get only 32% back, and then just 15%. If you become disabled, you can get income for life for both what would have been your working years — and beyond in retirement. In other words, public employees are not being especially picked on.

          The “SSA benefits actually earned,” as you put it, is not just about you. This is called SOCIAL security, not individual pensions. People help each other in various ways through the system.

          So if there’s somebody out there who’s earned $900/mo all his life and is going to get an $810 pension (well under poverty level), should people who’ve earned public pensions be treated as if they’ve had the same lifetime low income?

          By the way, something similar goes on with Medicare. If you contribute for 10 years, at age 65 your get exactly the same reimbursements for medical expenses as somebody who contributed for 50 years. Or would you like that to be proportional to contributions as well and have tens of millions without adequate health care?

          I’ll tell you something else you may not know. Since we’re on the NEA site, you may have been a teacher. The WEP repeal bill floated a few years ago, introduced by Cong Kevin Grady, has an interesting idea for how to pay for lost income from WEP reductions.

          The federal employees union was behind the bill and they knew that good records were kept on federal employees who went onto Social Security. SSA knew who they were and charged the WEP. But SSA had less track of state and local employees (and employees abroad), so many might have escaped the WEP. The idea was to make them pay for the revenue loss. They would have to prove their employment history going back decades and if it appeared there was WEP reduction they hadn’t paid it would be taken out of future pension payments. This is called being thrown under the bus. Be careful what you wish for.
          https://www.ssa.gov/oact/solvency/KBrady_20160629.pdf

          1. Okay, so you are emphasizing an unjust law — that if the person escaped the “unjust law” and was “caught escaping the unjust law” then they would have to repay the unjust lost wages for the WEP they were supposed to receive? Am I understanding your statement correctly?

            But how does THIS sound: suppose you earned a maximum pension (in 2019) of say $70,000 (not a helluva lot) and your “retirement estimate” for Social Security was $950 per month, but guess what, in 2014 your WEP penalty was $408 per month? How would you feel? Suppose you DID pay into the system for 20 years only to be told that retiring in 2014 caused you to lose $408 per month; retiring in 2015 caused you to lose $413 per month; retiring in 2018 caused a loss of $425 per month and low and behold in 2019: $463 per month — of “rightfully EARNED income according to your SS retirement printout!!

            Still talking the same crap as above, or would you feel differently, my friend? FOLKS READING THIS AND AFFECTED BY WEP: GET OFF YOUR ASSES AND TELL THE REPUBLICAN GOP TO VOTE ON H.R. 141 TO GET WEP REPEALED. WE NEED 55 MORE VOTES AND REPUBLICANS ARE THE HOLDOUT. WRITE TO THE GOP AND GET YOUR POLICE OFFICER FRIENDS TO DO THE SAME SO THIS BILL CAN PASS. ALSO NEA NEEDS TO GET OFF THEIR ASSES AND ALSO WRITE TO THE REPUBLICAN GOP TO GET THE REMAINING 55 VOTES.

          2. Something you may not understand is that these poor people your bleeding about have as much opportunity to work, get an education and make money as anybody else. Most of them chose their lifestyle. Yes some folks need help and if our government would stop sending our $$ to other countries and help those at home first it would be a different story. How many millions has the government stolen from the SS fund. They thought it was their personal slush fund, and put the $$ to use for other things. I may not be a highly intelligent individual, but I do know when the government is screwing good hard working people to the wall, and let me tell you Pal the WEP is a screw you deal. The government said not to count on SS alone as a form of retirement. Well, I didn’t. I paid into SS for 28 years while working as an electrician, and have spent 32 years working for one of the largest school districts in the nation. Now at 74 years old when I am ready to retire the government is going to take what I have worked for? I don’t mind paying my fair share of taxes due, but the WEP is nothing more than theft. Other people with 2 forms of retirement income are not penalized. Furthermore, 3 of my 28 years paying into SS were disallowed because I was working part time while going to school and did not earn a qualified income. Now the WEP will reduce my SS benefit even more. It’s a shame that we have some liberal minded individuals in this country that think the way they do. God Family Country.

          3. You don’t know what your talking about I paid into ss for 34 years they will reduce my ss 6 years because I didn’t pay enough into ss those years I will have 12 years paying into an OPERS pension so when they took the six years off my ss it gave me only 28 years so instead of getting 1037 dollars a month I will only get about 940 dollars that’s how the wep works and it’s a rip off so I would like to ask you the years they took from me that I paid into ss do you think they are going to give me that money back no they are going to steal that money from me and what about the money my employer paid that he had to match what i paid do you think there getting there money back no more stealing going on by are good old government and the last time I checked not one of those scum bags ever went to work for me but yet they will steal my money, I am not asking for a dime more then what they owe me but I should not have to take a penny less either they didn’t give me an option about paying into ss they made me now I want back the money they made me pay that’s only fair.

    2. I agree. I am also suffering in the same situation. I work 27 years for ssa and 22 in public service. I wasn’t a high earner. My max pay was 42 thosand a year. Since we had a wage freeze for 10 years. Totally not far. It’s like the government is letting the elderly is put out in a 3rd world country. Let the older person do without food. Shelter and medical. This is totally unbelievable. Doesn’t the government realize what they have let Ronald Reagan do to our own human rights.

      1. My dad was never a high earner has he is disabled. His was always too proud to take disability. We worked janitorial and fast food until he couldn’t any more. He’s gets OPERS and Social Security but his income is so low that he’s eligible for Medicaid and food stamps. If the ssa “substantial earnings” amount was lower he’d be fine. Very sad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *