Social Security Info

This is a collection of articles dealing witht he 1983 Windfall Elimination Provision added to Social Security.  This impacts many LEOFF 1 members and can reduce Social Security payments by as much as 40%.  Many people are working to eliminate this tax.  Please contact your local retired organization for information.

    AARP Opposes SS Windfall Tax

    AARP President Jeannine English has urged the House Ways and Means Committee to end the Social Security provision known as the Windfall Elimination Provision, or WEP, which reduces benefits for workers who have both state and private-sector jobs.  Under HR 711, sponsored by Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), workers who are already retired may receive a rebate and those still working will get benefits based on earnings and contributions, like all other workers.  Call 844-259-9352 toll-free and ask your lawmakers to cosponsor HR 711.

    AARP started supporting this bill in 2014 but so far it has not moved in the House.
    Emails have been circulating information about HR 711, a federal bill that would eliminate the Windfall Tax on Social Security.  While it is great that there is strong support for this bill from public employees across the country, the bill itself is not new.  It is one of those that is put forward with every session of Congress and then simply sets in committee and never gets a hearing or vote.  Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have signed on to this legislation over the past number of years and are quick to point out how they have supported the legislation but when asked what they have done specifically to move it forward they never reply.  This is a common device used by legislators to enable them to show their support for legislation that they do not care enough about to try and get passed.  So, year after year nothing happens.

    Maybe some letters to your Senators and Representative will help.  The full story provides more details and links to the actual legislation.
    We found this article that claims that serving in the military reserve excludes a person from the Windfall Elimination Provision as mandated by Congress. So if you served in the reserve it is well worth investigating. This article also points out some of the other ways to avoid the WEP. 

    Per Brian Feldman,"I did some research and found the reservist exception.  However it only applies if you are drawing a military retirement pension based on time in the reserves."

    Congressman Dave Reichert is a LEOFF 1 member, former King County Sheriff and the US Representative for the 8th district.  In this letter he responds to an inquiry about Social Security from Ted Fehr.

    Dear Mr. Fehr,

    Thank you for contacting me regarding the modification of two Social Security offset provisions.  I appreciate your thoughts on this matter and welcome the opportunity to respond.

    Ted Fehr wrote to Senator Cantwell about the Windfall Elimination Provision. The windfall elimination provision reduces the Social Security benefits of workers who also receive pension benefits from other employment not covered by Social Security, such as the Federal Civil Retirement System. Public employees often have salaries that are lower than those in the private sector, and the windfall reduction makes it more difficult to recruit employees into these positions.

    Also please see our article from 2009.  The letters are pretty much the same.  Just updated a bit
    Each year the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds report on the current and projected financial status of the two programs. This message summarizes the 2011 Annual Reports.

    The financial conditions of the Social Security and Medicare programs remain challenging. Projected long-run program costs for both Medicare and Social Security are not sustainable under currently scheduled financing, and will require legislative modifications if disruptive consequences for beneficiaries and taxpayers are to be avoided.
    Don Hirschman wrote to Senator Murray about Social Security.  Here is the reply he received.  Unfortunately Senator Murry gave a boilerplate reply and pretty well skated around the Windfall Elimination Tax.  It is disappointing as she was a suponser of that bill but was unable or unwilling to move it forward when they had control of both the House and Senate.  That is why I tend to see her and Senator Cantwell's replies on this issue as disingenuous.
    Social Security Administration  in mid-October 2009 released a bulletin entitled "The Disappearing Defined Benefit Pension and Its Potential Impact on the Retirement Incomes of Baby Boomers." The percentage of workers covered by a traditional annuity, often based on years of service and final salary, has been steadily declining over the past 25 years.
    Rep. Rick Larsen on the windfall tax.  Not quite as positive as Sen. Cantwell's response but at least we are keepin the issue on the burner.
    Barry Newson contacted Senator Cantwell's office about the Windfall Tax. She replied and we are providing a copy of that reply here.  It seems to me that everybody should write to her just to let her know that we expect this bill to get out of committee and passed.  It has been in committee for several years now and gets renewed every year but never seems to get out of committee.  I don't know if it is intended to get out of committee or if the bill is just there to appease us. 
    The 5.8 percent cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) – the largest in 26 years – is an important reminder that keeping pace with inflation is one of the attributes that makes Social Security benefits such a unique source of income. (The other is that the payments continue for life.)

    The 2008 Democratic National Platform includes language calling for the elimination of Social Security offsets. NEA President Reg Weaver and Pennsylvania State Education Association President Jim Testerman served on the platform committee and, with the help of National Education Association staff, were able to push the committee to include in the platform language reading,

    In 1983 Congress was motivated to create the WEP to remove any possible inequalities of Social Security benefits of employees not paying into Social Security but paying into a government retirement plan. These employees would earn their 40 credits outside of federal service and subsequently earn Social Security benefits that are as relatively high as those benefits earned by employees who paid into Social Security their entire working careers. Our Congress saw this as an “inequality” problem.  So they reduced the amount of the benefit that such workes would receive.  (Many thanks to Ray Sanderson for finding and publishing this information.)
    The Social Security Fairness Act now boasts a record 352 bipartisan cosponsors in the House and 37 cosponsors in the Senate. In November, 2007, the Senate Finance Committee, Subcommittee on Social Security, held a hearing on the offsets, followed in February 2008 by a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee. These hearings, and the high number of cosponsors, reflect the hard work of activists across the country in raising the profile of this issue and moving it farther in this current Congress than ever before.