October 29, 2019
Representative Richard E. Neal
Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means
2309 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C., 20515
Dear Mr. Chairman:
On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I am writing to endorse your bill, H.R. 4540, the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act. This important legislation improves the Windfall Elimination Provision, or WEP, by introducing a new proportional formula for the purpose of calculating the amount of the offset and provides meaningful WEP relief to current retirees. H.R. 4540 also includes a benefit guarantee so that no current or future retirees can be worse off as a result of the bill.
While our preferred outcome is complete repeal of the WEP, we applaud the important improvements included in this bill. Originally, the WEP was intended to equalize the Social Security benefit formula for workers with similar earnings histories who work both within and outside the Social Security system. However, in practice, it has unfairly penalized many public employees. The much-needed reforms in this bill provide meaningful WEP assistance to both current and future retirees.
Of note is the fact that H.R. 4540 provides immediate relief to current Social Security beneficiaries affected by the WEP. Current beneficiaries, including those turning 62 before 2022, who are affected by the WEP will receive up to an extra $150 per month, starting nine months after the enactment of the bill.
Future retirees (those turning 62 in 2022 and later) will have their Social Security benefits calculated under a new fairer benefit formula. This new formula calculates benefit amounts based on the proportion of lifetime earnings covered by Social Security. It is estimated that most future retirees will receive a higher benefit under the new formula than they receive under the current law WEP calculation.
The National Committee is pleased to endorse H.R. 4540, the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act. This bill represents an important step in improving the WEP, which has so harshly affected the retirement plans of those seniors who are subjected to this provision. We look forward to working with you to enact this bill and we thank you for your leadership in this important endeavor.
President and CEO