Last week, we announced a major step forward in our fight to reform the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). With the filing of H.R. 4540 by Ways and Means Chairman Richie Neal of Springfield, we now have a sound proposal that stands a realistic chance of being passed by this Congress.
In case you missed the specifics, Neal’s proposal includes a $150 per month relief payment for retirees who have had their Social Security benefit reduced by the WEP law. The payment, which amounts to $1,800 a year, is indexed to inflation and grows every time a COLA is paid. The relief payment applies to anyone first eligible for Social Security BEFORE 1/1/2022 (age 62, with at least 40 quarters).
Since the bill was unveiled last Friday, we have received nothing but positive feedback from stakeholder groups across the country. It appears that valid concerns about the impact on future retirees, that arose with past WEP reform proposals, have been resolved with H.R. 4540.
In fact, Social Security Works – a major private sector Social Security advocacy group – has already endorsed the bill! And we are hopeful that the AARP will soon do so as well.
Meanwhile, there is something you can do to help out. If you have not already done so, can you please call, email or write to your local member of Congress? Ask that they not only cosponsor H.R. 4540, but also make the issue of WEP reform a priority for passage this session.
Right here and now marks the best opportunity we have ever had to pass WEP reform. And we have a Ways and Means chairman from Massachusetts, who is our biggest advocate in Congress!
Finally, some members have expressed their disappointment that the proposal does not include a full repeal of WEP and does not address the Government Pension Offset. After decades of fighting for relief, we believe that H.R. 4540 represents a realistic proposal that has the national support to become law. At this time, we do not have the national support needed to go further. If passed, nearly 100,000 MA public retirees will receive an additional $1,800 a year – not an insignificant amount to most of our members!
We cannot allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. We need bring relief to our members, then work to improve up the law going forward. I hope that you agree and will do what you can.