A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by House Committee on Ways and Means Ranking Member Kevin Brady, R-TX, introduced the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2019, H.R. 3934. The bill would
reform the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) by changing the Social Security benefit calculation for WEP-affected beneficiaries. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefits of federal retirees
who receive benefits from having worked in both the private and public sectors.
The bill would provide WEP-affected individuals who are currently age 60 and older with a monthly rebate of $100, adjusted annually by the COLA. Individuals receiving a WEP-reduced Social Security benefit based on their spouses’ employment would receive a $50 per month rebate. Moving forward, the bill would replace the WEP with a formula that equalizes benefits for certain individuals with noncovered employment. For those between age 21 and 59, the WEP penalty would be calculated using the current formula or the new one created in the bill, whichever is more beneficial. Individuals currently under age 20 would have their WEP penalty calculated with the new formula. 7/29/19
Also this week, NARFE sent a letter to the House Committee on Ways and Means urging changes to provide fairness in the Social Security 2100 Act, H.R. 860, introduced by Rep. John Larson, D-CT,
which the committee debated in a hearing on July 25. The Social Security 2100 Act proposes numerous adjustments to improve and expand Social Security benefits, however, it does not extend these
changes to federal annuities.
Among the proposed changes is the calculation used to determine cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security beneficiaries. The bill would switch calculation of Social Security COLAs from the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) to the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). NARFE fully supports this switch, as the CPI-W doesn’t accurately account for the spending habits of seniors. However, any change Congress makes to one federal program in this area should be applied to all programs, and this legislation fails to apply this update to federal annuities. In this vein, NARFE members should continue to urge their members of Congress to cosponsor the Fair COLAs for Seniors Act. 7/29/19