What You Should Know About Bills That Would Reform the Windfall Elimination Provision

What You Should Know About Bills That Would Reform the Windfall Elimination Provision
Stock/Getty Images

While the Windfall Elimination Provision is not a military/veteran issue and is not a part of the MOAA charter, we have numerous readers who could be affected by House bills that would change the provision. Here’s a quick overview, with links to more information so you can go directly to the source.

What is the WEP? Some people earn a retirement or disability pension from a job that does not pay into the Social Security system. Typically these people are federal service employees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) after 1956 or state employees like teachers.

[DOWNLOAD: MOAA's Member-Only Finance Publications]

If these same people have employment in other jobs that do pay into Social Security, their earned Social Security benefits are decreased just because they have pension income from their non-Social Security job. This is due to the WEP.

The WEP is law with good intentions, but in practice it unfairly treats people with earned Social Security benefits because of their past employment in a non-Social Security job.

There are two bills working in the House to reform the WEP and make it fairer: The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2019 (H.R. 3934) and the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act (H.R. 4540). These provisions would change the calculation used for WEP to correct the current discrepancy of penalizing retirees with Social Security earnings.

These bills will not completely fix the WEP issue, but they do move down a path toward a permanent solution. If you want to weigh in on the changes with your representative, go here for contact information.

(Note: The WEP does not apply to survivors benefits, but those benefits can be reduced due to another law known as the Government Pension Offset. Check out this fact sheet for details.).

For more information, check out a fact sheet on the WEP produced by the Social Security Administration. You can get full details on the reform bills, including their status in Congress, by visiting the Congress.gov site (H.R. 3934, H.R. 4540).

Again, the WEP and GPO are not MOAA issues. Visit MOAA’s finance page for more financial news and information, including benefits available exclusively to MOAA Premium and Life members.

Related Content

About the Author

Lt. Col. Shane Ostrom, USAF (Ret), CFP®
Lt. Col. Shane Ostrom, USAF (Ret), CFP®

Ostrom is MOAA's former Program Director, Financial & Benefits Education/Counseling