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Social Security
The Voice of the Retired Public Employee
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taken away. Collectively, we are doing everything we can to pass a reform bill through Congress and get it onto the President’s desk for approval this year.”
need for a transition period before the new formula takes effect for future retirees. This is partially to maintain the so-called thirty-year rule for existing public workers, who have worked to amass at least thirty years of substantial contribu- tions under Social Security and are therefore exempt from the WEP.
(R-TX) and Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) are hard at work crafting the fine details of a bipartisan proposal to reform the WEP. This work extends to the Social Security Administration, as well as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
‘Congressman Neal continues to be instru-
“In 2016 there were legitimate concerns amongst the IAFF and other unions surrounding a transi- tion period that were not addressed before H.R. 711 was unveiled. A very deliberate process is now underway to put together a fair pro- posal that addresses the concerns of today’s active employees, while providing meaningful relief for current WEP’d retirees,” explains President Frank Valeri. “WEP is a national issue that impacts roughly 2 million people all across the country. The reform proposal has to account for the concerns of the various groups impacted, otherwise we’ll end up with another standoff like we had in 2016.”
Despite assurances from Brady that he intended to advance WEP legislation through the current Con- gressional session (which ends December 31st), efforts appeared stalled late in 2017 as Congress grappled with tax reform, immi- gration policy and the political upheaval that continues to make legislating increasingly difficult.
mental in getting a WEP deal done in 2018. Without his and Chair- man Brady’s commit- ment, this proposal... would be off the table.’
In May, Association officials met with Neal in his Springfield office for a briefing on where efforts cur- rently stand. Neal’s designation as “Ranking Member” signifies his status as the lead Democrat on Ways and Means.
“We know how much this means to our members, who have been victimized by the WEP law and witness a large portion of their Social Security benefit unfairly
Under the basic premise of the proposal, those currently eligible for Social Security and subject to the WEP will receive a rebate for a portion of their benefit lost to the WEP. The WEP will no longer be in effect for future retirees, who will be subject to a revised Social Secu- rity formula that fairly accounts for time paid into Social Security vs. a separate retirement system (such as the MA public retirement systems).
As we have reported in the past, current reform proposals apply only to the WEP and not the Govern- ment Pension Offset (GPO). The GPO law reduces and, in most cases, eliminates spousal Social Security benefits for public retirees. While related to the WEP, the GPO is a separate and distinct issue that Congress has insisted on addressing through future legislation.
Lessons From 2016
“Congressman Neal continues to be instrumental in getting a WEP deal done in 2018. Without his and Chairman Brady’s commitment, this proposal and any hope of passing a reform would be off the table,” says Association Legislative Director Shawn Duhamel. “We can see the work being put into finally resolving WEP, which is no small task, otherwise it would have been done years ago.
An attempt to pass reform legis- lation in 2016 failed when the bill, H.R. 711, was blocked from advancing beyond the Social Secu- rity Subcommittee. Since then, Brady and Neal have worked together to overcome the concerns that were raised at the time.
Members impacted by the WEP should monitor Mass Retirees’ digital communication channels and weekly toll-free hotline message for the latest news.
An area of concern has been the
Our Association’s 2018 Annual Meeting will be held on Friday, September 7, 2018 at 11:00 A.M.
at the Lantana, Randolph (Exit 5A off Rt. 128).
Complete details will be in our September Voice. 2

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