Push For WEP Reform Continues

Push For WEP Reform Continues
Congressman Joe Kennedy, III with Shawn Duhamel

National Coalition Meets in DC

FEBRUARY 27, 2018: Key representatives from states impacted by the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) met in Washington, DC this week, as pressure to pass reform legislation continues to mount.

Mass Retirees joined key WEP reform ally, the 88,000 member-strong Texas Retired Teachers Association, for the annual meeting of the Coalition to Preserve Retirement Security. CPRS is a national organization of public retirement system and advocacy group officials from non-Social Security states.

“I am hearing the same concerns and complaints from my retirees in Texas, who are impacted by the WEP and are growing anxious to see reform legislation pass Congress,” says Tim Lee, Executive Director to the Texas Retired Teachers. “Nearly two years ago, I joined the AARP and others in testifying before Congress in support of compromise legislation to reform the WEP. While we understand the difficulty that exists in moving any legislation through Congress, our members – like our allies in Massachusetts and around the country – deserve relief from this awful law.”

Mass Retirees Legislative Director Shawn Duhamel joined Lee and the delegation from Texas at Monday’s meeting. They were joined by officials from the AARP, National Retired Teachers Association and nearly every state impacted by the WEP and Government Pension Offset.

The meeting featured an update from House Ways and Means Committee staff, on hand to represent Chairman Kevin Brady. Beyond the WEP, the meeting also focused on the GPO and what can be done to provide relief for lower income retirees, many of whom are widows.

Congressional leaders continue to focus on a two-step approach that acts on the WEP first, followed by the GPO in future legislation. Reaching a viable compromise on the GPO, which impacts spousal Social Security benefits, is a more complicated issue than addressing WEP.

On Tuesday morning, Duhamel traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with Congressman Joseph Kennedy, III.

“The meeting with Congressman Kennedy was very productive. It was clear that he understands the fine details of the WEP & GPO issues and agrees that action is long overdue. He recalled WEP and GPO reform being issues that his great uncle, the late Senator Ted Kennedy, had also championed. Back then we were pushing for a full repeal of both laws, something that we’ve come to realize cannot gain the support to pass,” says Duhamel. “Most important is the fact that all nine members of our Congressional delegation are in agreement when it comes to WEP and GPO. Everyone is doing their part to keep this issue on the front burner of Congress.”

We will continue to update Mass Retirees members on any new developments as they occur.