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Re: Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) - 2019 CRS Report

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CRS Report - Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) Updated February 10, 2020 (98... 

 

Social Security provides insured workers and their eligible family members with a measure of protection against the loss of income due to the worker's retirement, disability, or death. The amount of the monthly benefit payable to workers and their family members is based on the worker's career-average earnings from jobs covered by Social Security (i.e., jobs in which the worker's earnings were subject to the Social Security payroll tax).  The Social Security benefit formula is weighted to replace a greater share of career-average earnings for low-paid workers than for high-paid workers. This means that low-paid workers receive relatively high benefits in relation to their payroll tax contributions, although the dollar amount of their benefits is lower than that provided to high-paid workers.

 

THE PROBLEM:  The benefit formula, however, cannot distinguish between workers who have low career-average earnings because they worked for many years at low earnings in Social Security-covered employment and workers who appear to have low career-average earnings because they worked for many years in jobs not covered by Social Security. (Those years show up as zeros in their Social Security earnings records, which, when averaged, lower their career earnings from covered work.) Consequently, workers who split their careers between covered and noncovered employment—even highly paid ones—may also receive the advantage of the weighted formula.

The windfall elimination provision (WEP) is a modified benefit formula designed to remove the unintended advantage, or "windfall," of the regular benefit formula for certain retired or disabled workers who spent less than full careers in covered employment and who are also entitled to pension benefits based on earnings from jobs not covered by Social Security. The reduction in initial benefits caused by the WEP is designed to place affected workers in approximately the same position they would have been in had all their earnings been covered by Social Security.

 

  • WEP's supporters argue that the formula is a reasonable means to prevent overgenerous payments and unintended benefits to people who have earnings not covered by Social Security and receive pensions from noncovered work.
  • Opponents argue that the provision substantially reduces a benefit that workers may have included in their retirement plans, and it reduces benefits disproportionately for lower-earning households.
  • Others criticize the current WEP formula as an imprecise way to determine the actual windfall when applied to individual cases.

 

Recent legislation has generally proposed either to eliminate the provision for all or some affected beneficiaries, or replace the current-law provision with a new proportional formula based on past earnings from both covered and noncovered employment.

( Yeah, right on the latter - once they go back and pay their contributions to the system - employee & employer)

 


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Re: Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) - 2019 CRS Report

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Charles:  "NO...." AARP will NEVER, EVER support our cause.  I urge you, Charles, as a member of "ssfairness.org" as I am to BOYCOTT AARP because of this.  YES, I am posting, but I will never, ever support AARP until they open their mouths and support us, Charles.

 

Please if you have any clout, BOYCOTT AARP until they vocalize the wrongfulness of the WEP and GPO.  Post, yes, but BOYCOTT.

 

I am sure Bonnie, Jesse, and others would agree to BOYCOTT.  AARP WILL NOT HELP US, Charles. Please don't be disillusioned.

 

Thanks for support from "ssfairness.org." but H.R. 141 will never pass -- REPUBLICANS won't let it, but God Bless our cause.

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Hello Gary:  (To Police Officer):

 

I think you might be "misunderstanding" the impact of the WEP, in particular.  So, I am retired, subject to the WEP, and I feel somewhat qualified to clarify any misunderstandings that may arise to the "content" of the WEP.  I will not comment on the "intent" of the WEP ONLY to say that it is "unfair" to lump pensioners of say $72,000 with pensioners of say $150,000 together.

 

For more insight into the "reductions of the WEP" at your leisure, please feel free to visit this website: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/wep-chart.html  This will give you some insight into how heavily WEP affects its people -- over 2,000,000 of us!!

 

Now, as a retiree, I offered to delve into "content" of the WEP.  If you follow the above weblink grid chart, you will notice that the penalties are divided by:  (1) year of retirement, and (2) number of years worked with SSA contributions.  Now, as of 2020, the "penalties" for WEP are:  $463.00 per month reduction with "20 years or less" and this is how WEP is configured:

 

First, when you DO receive your estimated retirement printout from the SSA, it DOES count highest 35 years WORKED UNDER SOCIAL SECURITY.  When you DO get your SSA estimate, it DOES account for "years not worked" by putting a "0" in those years, so that when you DO receive your estimate, it ONLY accounts for the ACTUAL YEARS CONTRIBUTED INTO THE SYSTEM, and then makes the unholy reductions as you will follow in the WEP chart link I gave you.

 

As a police officer (or former police officer) you should be sympathetic to the women who have worked in public service and in private businesses who are being clobbered by the WEP and GPO.  

 

As for myself - well guess what - I was paying into BOTH retirement systems, no choice in the matter - knowing full well I would be clobbered by not having the 30 years required.  Personally, I am losing $408.00 per month, on a $70,000 year pension -- supporting a mortgage, property taxes, insurance, health incidentals, etc.  

 

So contrary to those of you who "think" WEP is justified because you "did not pay into those years" please understand that WHEN you DO receive your SSA retirement estimate, it DOES show "0" for years not covered and THEN comptes the amount you are "supposed to get" without telling you your "penalties due to the WEP."

 

If there are any folks reading this, you should contact police organizations and tell them to get in touch with the Republican Party, GOP, to add more votes to H.R. 141.  NO, it will NOT pass without them.  It probably will never pass, but at least TRY folks.  

 

We cannot count on AARP, so why aren't we boycotting AARP?   YES, I am writing on this forum but I will never, ever support AARP nor will my fellow members of "ssfairness.org."

 

Email the GOP and get them on Board for H.R. 141 -- it is our only hope for passage of H.R. 141.

Thank you.

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Re: Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) - 2019 CRS Report

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HR 141 now has 238 co sponsors S 521 now has 37. The democrat liberal clowns have sponsored HR 4540 111Democrats and 2 Republicans totaling 113 and no comp senate bill. It has absolutely no chance of moving. I also have the list of 18 who co-sponsored this bill but not HR 141.If these friends of the working man want to really help why not join the other of HR 141 bringing the total to at least 256 or possiby more bring it to the 290 mark needed to automatically go to the full house  without just being stuck in committee.Also if these co ponsors are really serious about passing this bill they could file a Discharge Petition.By the way the Speaker of the House was to busy with other matters so she Did Not Vote for HR 2382.

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Re: Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) - 2019 CRS Report

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@GailL1

 

On the contrary Gail, you can find a LOT of actions on H.R. 141 since the beginning of this year in terms of U.S. Member of Congress, (MOC) adding their names as cosponsors. Follow the link and click on “all actions” and you will see the cosponsors which are now at 229 and growing with a new U.S. Senator too.

 

www.congress.gov

 

To find your local representative: www.house.gov

 

Now then “valued” social butterfly, a little about the prior congressional bills that you posted:

 

H.R. 710 – 2 cosponsors, and ZERO, zilch, (0), U.S. Senators

 

H.R. 3934 – 43 Cosponsors, ZERO, zilch (0), U.S. Senators

 

H.R. 3934 obfuscates and denies for all SS eligible people prior to 2021 which is discriminatory based upon Age, however it admits to being guilty with its title, (“Unequal” issue in its title). Then this bill aims at giving out “street change” of $100 bucks to “quiet down” the political noise. It is too partisan with NO, nada, ZERO, zilch (0), cosponsors from NY or Florida where most recipients of SS live,  and 1, ONE from the largest state, California. ROTFL. It has a mere 16 states vs 43 for H.R. 141, the SOCIAL SECURITY FAIRNESS ACT of 2019, which is very bipartisan and in fact NON-PARTISAN, which is why it has both parties jumping on it.

 

H.R. 4540 does address the under 30 years of age, (Admitting it’s wrong and therefore attempting to correct it which you seem incapable of seeing yet) however seems to compete with H.R. 3934 and likewise discriminates based upon denying the correction to all of us who might have qualified PRIOR TO 2022! This too could be found to be discriminatory as well. Finally, this bill offers the same “street change” amount but ups it a tad to $150 bucks to “placate” the “rabble”, (as if the American people are stupid in the minds of some), who are suffering.

 

H.R. 6933 which was the prior bill to 3934 never got off the ground due to its lead wings. Moreover,

 

H.R. 6933’s related and identical bill in the Senate was S. 3526, sponsored by none other than Senator Ted Cruz, rotfl, and had NO, ZERO, zilch cosponsors…...

 

H.R. 6962 – ZERO – 0 Cosponsors

 

S. 3433 – another loser – ZERO cosponsors…..

 

Whereas the SOCIAL SECURITY FAIRNESS ACT of 2019 has steadily grown due to its bipartisanship and simple yet honest approach to the treatment and correction of the injustice done to Americans. It has grown since its previous exact bills yet were different congresses and bill numbers. Each of those Congresses with those bills also had an identical Senate bill which further demonstrates its popularity and soundness across the aisles. Those prior congressional bills for this wonderful Act were:

 

(From the 113th Congress 2013 – 2014)
H.R. 1795 – SOCIAL SECURITY FAIRNESS ACT of 2013, with its identical Senate bill, S. 896

 

(From the 114th Congress 2015 – 2016)
H.R. 973 – SOCIAL SECURITY FAIRNESS ACT of 2015, with its identical Senate bill, S. 1651

 

(From the 115th Congress 2017 – 2018)
H.R. 1205 – SOCIAL SECURITY FAIRNESS ACT of 2017, with its identical Senate bill, S. 915

 

(Present Congress – 116th, 2019 – 2020)
H.R. 141 – SOCIAL SECURITY FAIRNESS ACT of 2019, with its identical Senate bill, S.521

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Re: Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) - 2019 CRS Report

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@CharlesU659303 

 

Sorry, if my explanations aren't clear -

Maybe some of these articles will add some clarity.

 

Here is a long line of current articles and info on the WEP  and the controversy over the formula used - including proposed legislation.

Social Security Report,org: Windfall Elimination Provision 

 

Motley Fool.com - 11/05/2019 Here's How Having A Pension Affects Your Social Security Benefits 

 

Maybe these links and others which are easy to search out will answer your "WHY?" questions.


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Re: Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) - 2019 CRS Report

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Gail “valued” social butterfly

 

I think you are confused and regurgitating things.  Not all non-covered employment is WEB’d or GPO’d and you yourself stated that with the 30+ years of work, so you’re contradicting yourself.  I think you are missing the point of who the WEP does not affect.  To reiterate, the WEP does not affect everybody, WHY?  It could also be found to be Constitutionally unsound from a civil rights perspective too.  There isn’t a valid reason for the 20 or 30 year “substantial” earnings other than the arbitrary political correctness of it from a bygone era of the late 70’s and early 80’s.  Being “in lieu of” would be a misnomer for NOT PARTICIPATING.  It is NOT a “substitute” it is a DENIAL of the full Social Security that one has paid into and EARNED.

 

When you state “…and enough of them to count...”, … there you go again… you do not answer the question why?  Why can’t any or all of them and not just “enough of them” count?  That does not sound inclusive whatsoever…. And possibly discriminatory.

 

Furthermore, not all public employees are subject to the injustice of the WEP and GPO so that also could be found discriminatory as it is inconsistent and arbitrary.  Without doubt, individuals in WEP’d or GPO status might also have an IRA, Roth IRA, etc.    

 

Once again, state and local governments in many places DO PARTICIPATE and therefore SS taxes ARE taken out.  They are PARTICIPATORY and therefore covered SS.   If NONE is taken out, (non-participatory), then NONE should be penalized and denied their full SS.  It’s as simple as that.  In fact, perhaps a restitution is in order to compensate all those who’ve suffered many decades under this WEB and GPO injustice.   Finally, many do not need guidance or a lecture upon “how SS is figured” because many who read this KNOW about what is happening to them and being DENIED their full Social Security benefits that they PAID INTO AND EARNED.  You may explain away all you want with SS rationalizations, but it is NOT restoring those individuals’ money that has been denied them unless H.R. 141, the SOCIAL SECURITY FAIRNESS ACT of 2019 is successful.

 

Why you are rationalizing an injustice just because it is so, (status quo) is disappointing in view of your other posts.   Why you are digging your heels in to support something that hurts the elderly, women and those with disabilities seems perversely cruel or egotistical.  We welcome your change of heart.

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@CharlesU659303 

 

BTW, H.R. 141 - Social Security Fairness Act of 2019 - hasn't moved since January 2019 - referred to Subcommittee on Social Security 01/31/2019.  That's it - otherwise, they are just lining up adding their names as sponsors -  There has been NO action - still in the Social Security Committee, NO CBO report - nothing, nada . . .

Congress.gov - H.R. 141 - Social Security Fairness Act of 2019 

 

You can read this to reference ALL the others that I have listed below. 

Congressional Research Service 10/22/2019 - Windfall Elimination Provision 

 

Recent legislation has generally proposed either to eliminate the provision forall or some affected beneficiaries, or replace the current-law provision with a new proportional formula based on past earnings from both covered and noncovered employment.

 

116th Congress (2019 - 2020)

S. 710 - (the Social Security Fairness for Firefighters and Police Officers Act) was introduced by Senator Pat Toomey on March 7, 2019.

 

On July 24, 2019, H.R. 3934 (the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act) was introduced by Representative Kevin Brady.

 

H.R. 4540 (the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act) was introduced by Representative Richard E. Neal on September 27, 2019.

 

Then from the 115th Congress (2017 - 2018 )

H.R. 1205 and S. 915, identical bills both titled the Social Security Fairness Act of 2017,

 

H.R. 6933 and S. 3526, identical bills both titled the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2018,

 

H.R. 6962, the Social Security Equity Act of 2018, and S. 3433,the Social Security Fairness for Firefighters and Police Officers Act.

 

I think they even go back even further -

 

 


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Re: Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) - 2019 CRS Report

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@CharlesU659303 

 

You are very confused and need to do some research on this whole issue, especially the formula which is used to compute retirement benefits for retiring beneficiaries who have both of these wages - covered and non-covered - public and private employment.

 

One thing I think you are missing is the understanding of who the WEP effects -

We are talking about any public employees (state, federal or locality) employed by a public entity which has opted to give a pension IN LIEU OF participation in the Social Security System.  To be in lieu of something is to replace it or substitute for it.

 

IN LIEU OF is the entire difference we are speaking about here for those who have both types of earnings in their working career and enough of them to count.

 

We are only speaking about the SS system here and the public employees pension used IN LEIU of it.

 

The ONLY compensation by private employers that is not subject to SS wage and tax contributions is the employer healthcare coverage.

 

Public employees could have also done a Traditional IRA or a ROTH IRA - because they did have earned income and those are done at an individuals tax time as long as the IRS rules of eligibility are followed for the deductibility on ones individual income tax computations . 

hey could also do contributions to a ROTH IRA.  ALL (deferred) pension types in the private sector are subject to the SS wage and tax contributions - 401K, SEP-IRA, etc., even defined benefit types in the private sector.

 

Would it come out any better if the public employees, with an IN LEIU OF (SS) pension and also had SS wages and taxes thru the years, used both types of wages to compute the AIME in the SS retirement computation and then subtracted out their pension? Can't use the estimator; has to be done manually.  I don't know - try it.

 

Social Security.gov - Publication " How Your Retirement Benefits Are Figured" 

 

Course then we would be short in contributions to the SS system so perhaps an adjustment would still have to be made depending upon the results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Hi Gail, and thank you for your response.  Now then, let’s take up your points and parse.  It “appears” like you are taking language directly from the horse’s mouth.  Are or were you a Social Security employee or with a brokerage to ostensibly “help” explain social security?  Let’s take up the points you quote below, bit by bit, so that others, may distinguish your comments from my remarks.  Mine will be in red.   

NO, @CharlesU659303 , that's the problem - they didn't take it out.

 

There are still some government agencies that do not participate in the SS system.

These would be local and state governments which are distinguished from the federal government as separate per the federal Constitution which means that they have the power to raise revenue which includes state and local taxation (bonds, property taxes, etc.).

 

BY LAW, ALL private employer HAVE to take out SS and Medicare payroll taxes from their employees and match it and pay it to the SSA regularly.  It has always been this way for private employers.  Agreed.

But government (state and federal) had their choice of participation in the SS system OR have their own pension plans where they funded the government pension - NO SS payroll taxes were ever deducted from these government employees on their government salary NOR was their a match by the government employer into the SS system.  The pension was these government employees retirement - completely.  

 

The key here is NO SS payroll taxes and NO match by the state or local government employer into the SS system.  However, the pension is often not these local and state government employees’ only retirement, i.e. those who receive SS, and from another government systems, state or federal but it could be the lion’s share of their retirement income.  If it is similar to their social security for when they worked before, during (part time job) or after they retired from their state or local career which could have been abbreviated for a number of reasons due to things like career transfer, being fired, starting later in life, disability, work related injury, etc., then the WEP and GPO have a particularly savage and regressive effect upon their otherwise meager SS earnings denied up to 50% of one’s local or state pension which could be 100% or ALL of one’s Social Security benefits from that state or local government pension in which they chose NOT, repeat NOT to PARTICIPATE.

 

A government pension is a retirement benefit from non-Social Security-covered employment for a state or local government. 

 

True, however, but you left out “non covered” (which more accurately could be said, non-PARTICIPATORY), STATE and LOCAL government pension as opposed to covered social security, which is separate and distinct, including NGO’s which have contracts with local, state and federal governments ALL OVER. 

 

Non-SS-covered employment is work you perform for a state or local government that is not covered by Social Security. 

 

Correct but a more accurate description of non “covered” is NON-PARTICIPATORY employment since it IS COVERED like a private or perhaps ROTH IRA, etc., BY THE LOCAL OR STATE GOVERNMENT…. Separate and distinct from Social Security in which one might have also participated, SEPARATE, AND DISTINCT, i.e. “covered” in the language of the Social Security Administration.

 

On your W-2 each year, Line 3 says "Social Security Wages" and Line 4 says "Social Security Wages Withheld" - For NON-covered government employment, those amounts would have showed ZERO every year. 

 

Bingo, they would have and therefore NONE should be denied via WEP and GPO since NONE were taken out. 

 

The only way that these government employees could have become vested in the SS retirement system was to have another job and paid into the SS system and matched by their private employers for (10) years or more.  For that employment, Line 3 and 4 on the W-2 would have shown the SS wages and the SS taxes withheld by the employer and reported to the SSA yearly. 

 

True but I believe you are implying the 40 quarters needed to receive SS, which is again, separate and distinct from another system, (Social Security being one system) in which you chose not to participate.  Moreover, it is automatically withheld whether you filed taxes i.e. reported the OASDI or FICA, or not.

    

The WEP and the GPO are formula adjustments that have to be made for people in this situation. 

 

Really now?  “have to be made”?  Why?  That can easily be changed and “have to” implies arbitrariness and unfair since one chose NOT TO PARTICIPATE for whatever personal reason, including public service doing some quite difficult jobs to maintain our states and local governments whether it be a school bus driver, custodian, teacher, police officer, fire fighter, road maintenance worker, on and on. 

 

IF they worked 30 years at another private employment job in addition to their government (non-covered, government penion earning job), then there is NO formula adjustment - no WEP or GPO adjustment because they have earned both retirements - and the same formula as everybody else can be used. 

 

Why should it be different?  Very few are in that category.  Nevertheless, that also seems arbitrary and inconsistent.  Less than 30 years or less than 20 (where the other penalty occurs), are arbitrary and inconsistent due to the SAME level of effort before those years and the NEED since the SS of those who worked less years would need the lesser amounts of money since it is LESS.

 

The "progressive" nature of retirement benefit computation by our Social Security system has to do with the way low income earners are given a bonus in retirement because MORE of their salary amount is used at the higher % to figure their benefit. 

 

No Gail, if you did not have a robust local or state government career of say 20, 25 or 30 years, or less, you ARE A LOW INCOME EARNER, and thus the WEP and GPO retirement benefit computation by our Social Security is “REGRESSIVE” and hurts them.  A “bonus” implies above and beyond and the WEP and GPO, are PENALTIES, not “bonuses”.

 

Once your AIME (average indexed monthly earnings)  is calculated, it's applied to a three-part formula to help determine your initial Social Security benefit.  Social Security benefits are calculated by applying three different percentages to a person's lifetime average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) and adding them up to obtain the worker's monthly benefit (primary insurance amount (PIA)) at full retirement age. For most beneficiaries in 2019, the PIA equals the sum of: 

    90 percent of the first $926 of AIME, plus                             

    32 percent of AIME over $926 and through $5583, plus

    15 percent of AIME over $5583.

For those government non-covered employees NOT covered by the SS system that have worked for 10 - 20+ years at another covered job, covered by the SS system, their AIME is skewed and cannot be used in this computation of retirement benefits by the SSA.  Thus the reason for the WEP adjustment.  

 

“Skewed” must be defined.  How so?  Explain.  I submit it is separate and distinct and not “skewed” because it was non participatory just as if one had not worked in a covered employment during those years that that same person WAS working for a local or state non covered employment.

 

The WEP % adjustment may not be completely accurate but it is pretty close - in fact, if we did invent another formula, it could come out worse for those involved in the WEP. 

 

I see, so “may not be completely accurate but it is close” …. or far and a regressive penalty that is arbitrary and has a punitive effect for life.  No Gail, if we invent another formula by eliminating the WEP and GPO, it will be BETTER for those who suffer by being denied their full SS because of WEP and GPO…most of whom are LOW WAGE SS recipients who are elderly.

 

Here is some link that also try to explain it -

2019 Social Security.gov - Publication - Your Retirement Benefit: How It’s Figured

Social Security.gov - Research, Statistics & Policy Analysis - Windfall Elimination Provision

Congressional Research Service Report 10/22/2019 - Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provisi...

National Education Association: FAQs About the Windfall Elimination Provision   

 

The NEA is a staunch supporter of the SOCIAL SECURITY FAIRNESS ACT of 2019, H.R. 141 and supports it whole heartedly.

 

The only time there is a WEP or GPO adjustment is if they did NOT work 30 years under the SS system in other employment. 

 

This is arbitrary and inconsistent and needs correcting as few fall within this category so it does not benefit the majority who are regressively penalized by being denied the SS if WEP’d and/or GPO’d.

 

 

The formula adjustment has to be made because this situation is an outlier and thus the same formula to compute benefits cannot be done.

 

No again Gail, this formula CAN be done and it is not an “outlier” but rather separate, distinct and NON participatory.  It is quite normal and the WEP and GPO, are the outliers and must be eliminated to make them normal and not skewered for people to receive their full amount of their SS that they paid into and earned.

 

  

It is easy to get 225 Representatives to sign on to some legislation especially if they don't understand the history and the formula basis for computing retirement benefits under SS and the actual purpose and basis for the WEP adjustment. 

 

This is insulting to the legislative process to imply or state that it is “easy” to get 225 Reps to sign on to some…. Especially if they don’t understand the history…   Each elected Representative in our Congress has a devoted and paid staff with experts in particular areas of legislation such as the Social Security, Retirement, Revenue, etc.  They research and make their decision on the best facts that they can obtain and then there are political realities of what help and hurt the American people.  Those Reps (which happen to be the majority for passage now), know that the WEP and GPO, are HURTING and not improving the economic conditions of elderly, and other social security recipients who have worked hard and paid into and earned their fair share.  Moreover, those persons reaching 62 or better do not have too many more years to live and those years need to be based on a quality of life and NOT a penalty denying them their social security that they had worked hard for, earned and paid into.  More, righting a wrong for the decades that this injustice has been around is an apology for the millions who suffered and now have passed on.    

 

That is why this legislation has gone NO-WHERE since it was introduced - I looked my (Democrat) Representative has NOT signed on - I have made sure that he understands the purpose of the WEP adjustment.   

 

Gone “no-where” with a majority for passage, 225 elected representatives from BOTH parties, representing some 160,000,000 Americans is “no-where” to you?  Rotfl! 

The majority of representatives in my state have proudly and resolutely added their names as cosponsors to H.R. 141, the SOCIAL SECURITY FAIRNESS ACT of 2019.  I urge interested people, and especially those impacted and victimized by the WEP and GPO penalties denying them their social security to go to the following sites for more information:

Social Security Fairness.org

Congress. Gov  type in H.R. 141 to see if your Congressional Representative has added his/or name

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