Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

Social Security Considers Changes For Public-Sector Retirees

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Jan 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

Two members of Congress, Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Richard Neal (D-Mass.), have proposed legislation to change the manner by which Social Security cuts the benefits of some retirees. At issue is the Windfall Elimination Provision, or WEP. Although WEP can affect many different Social Security beneficiaries, it mostly pertains to people who have worked in the public sector. 

Avoiding an Unfair Result

For those workers who have a government pension, Social Security reduces the amount of retirement benefits. The idea is that it would be unfair to

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permit such workers to get a full government pension plus a full Social Security retirement. Such public sector workers as firefighters and teachers do not pay into Social Security during their working years. In addition, some State workers have the option to chose to pay into Social Security if the state they work in does not offer their own pension plan.

No Easy Answer When Workers Do Both Public and Private Sector Work

The problem comes when workers split their time between private employers and government jobs. How Social Security calculates the WEP for these workers is complicated and based on their own formulas. Essentially, if a worker has at least 30 years of work in which they paid Social Security taxes, there is no set-off. After that Social Security applies a sliding scale. The most Social Security can reduce a worker's benefit as of 2019 is $463 per year.

No Revision Is Likely, But Keep Track

Because Congress can't agree on anything, it is unlikely that there will be a meaningful revision of WEP.  One easy solution is to have public-sector

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employees pay into Social Security they way private-sector employees already do. I would keep an eye on this because it is a method to bring more money into Social Security at a time when it is always in financial straits.  That said, many public-sector workers are in unions and they would assuredly fight any proposal that would reduce the take-home pay of their members.

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About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.

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