The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) effectively reduces a person's own Social Secuirty (SS) benefit if he/she also becomes eligible for a Federal pension after 1985. It also is affected by state and local pensions. Anyone with 30 years of SS earnings is exempt from WEP. The WEP was enacted because the SS computation formula gives an advantage to workers having lower wages by replacing a higher percentage of their pre-retirement earnings Federal retirees who have some work under SS, appear to SS as being lower wage earners. Therefore, the computation for Federal retirees applying for benefits under their own SS number is computed at 40 percent of the average monthly wage (AMW)for the first $455, instead of the 90% used for non-government workers. Important fact: A civil service survivor annuitant's own SS is not affected by the WEP as long as the survivor is not also a retired federal employee. In the 105th Congress Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Max Sandlin(D-TX) introduced WEP bills. Sandlin's bill, H.R. 3007, would have repealed the WEP. Frank's bill, H.R. 2549, would eliminate the WEP if a person's combined monthly Social Security benefit (before WEP), plus the gross amount of the government annuity, is $2,000 or less. If the combined amount is $3,000 or more, the WEP would apply, and the Social Security benefit would be reduced in accordance with present law. For combined amounts of over $2,000, but less than $3,000, the WEP would be phased in at different percentage rates until the full WEP formula applied at the $3,000 level. Other than a hearing by the Ways and Means Committee's Social Security Subcommittee (the committee of jurisdiction) in May of 1998, no action was taken on these bills. Both of the above bills were reintroduced in the 106th Congress as H.R. 742 and H.R. 860, but neither had enough co- sponsors to reach the floor, primarily due to insufficient co-sponsorship. In the 107th congress, Rep. Max Sandlin has introduced H.R.848 to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision. Rep. Barney Frank has also introduced his version of this legislation as H.R.1177. Action Needed Click on Co-Sponsors of H.R.848to determine if your representative has co-sponsored this bill. Co-sponsorship of the bill in the prior Congress can be determined by clicking on Co-Sponsors of H.R.742. Click on Co-Sponsors of H.R.1177to determine if your representative has sponsored this bill. Co-sponsorship of the bill in the prior Congress can be determined by clicking on Co-Sponsors of H.R.860. If your representative has not co-sponsored H.R.848 and/or H.R.1177, chapter Presidents and Legislative Officers should urge their members to write letters, make phone calls, and send e-mails to their representatives, urging them to co-sponsor H.R.848 and/or H.R.1177.
Note: Because the WEP also affects state and local employees, chapter Legislative Officers should contact local chapters to urge them also to contact their representatives. Ref. Ret. Life 4/99 (pg 8), 5/01 (pg 14)