March 3, 2021
The Honorable 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 H.R. 2337, the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act of 2021. This important legislation improves the Windfall Elimination Provision, or WEP, which results in cuts to the Social Security benefits of retirees who spent part of their working lives in employment not covered by Social Security. Your bill creates a new proportional formula for the purpose of calculating the amount of the benefit offset and provides meaningful WEP relief to current retirees. The legislation 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 the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act provides immediate relief to current Social Security beneficiaries affected by the WEP. Current beneficiaries, including those turning 62 before 2023, 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 2023 and later) will have their Social Security benefits calculated under the 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 remaining retirees who will not benefit will also not be hurt as the benefit guarantee included in the bill provides a floor below which benefits will not be permitted to drop.
The National Committee is pleased to endorse H.R. 2337, the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act of 2021. 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