Major Step Toward Congressional Action

MARCH 12, 2015: In a major step toward reforming the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has endorsed HR711 and urged Congress to take action during the 2016 Session.

The support comes on the heels of a meeting with the 38 million-member strong AARP that was led by the Retired Texas Teachers and Mass Retirees. AARP’s policy committee then put their stamp of approval on the proposal early this week.

Last year, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CALPERS) endorsed HR711. CALPERS is the largest pension system in the world.

“We commend you for developing a fair solution to a problem that has confounded experts for decades,” writes AARP’s VP of Government Affairs in a letter to Congressmen Kevin Brady and Richard Neal, the cosponsors of HR711.

Brady of Texas chairs the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, while Massachusetts’s Neal serves as the Committee’s ranking Democrat member. Both have worked closely with our Association, as well as the Retired Texas Teachers, over the past several years in developing what is now known as HR711.

Under the proposal, the Social Security benefits paid to existing retirees, who are now subject to the WEP, would be recalculated and see an average monthly increase of more than $100. New retirees, not yet enrolled in Social Security, would see their benefits rise by an average of $200 a month.

If passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama, HR711 would take effect in January 2017. As a longtime supporter of WEP reform, Obama is expected to sign HR711 if it should reach his desk by the end of 2016.

The President is also a supporter of reforming the Government Pension Offset (GPO), which impacts spousal Social Security benefits for those public retirees who do not qualify for their own Social Security benefit due to a lack of 40 quarters of participation under Social Security.

In his FY17 budget proposal, the President proposes both a WEP and GPO fix that is similar to that contained within HR711.

“Having AARP openly support and call for the passage of HR711 is a huge step forward. We are very hopefully that the House Social Security Subcommittee will soon hold a public hearing on the bill, which is a precursor to bringing the issue before the full House for a vote,” says Association Legislative Director Shawn Duhamel. “Our hope is to see House action on HR711 by the time of the Congressional Recess in August. From there the bill moves to the US Senate.”

Brady Neal WEP Letter of Support March 2016.pdf273.92 KB