AMAC Backs Reform Of Social Security WEP Clause That Penalizes Private Sector Workers

WASHINGTON, DC – AMAC Action is calling for reform of the Windfall Elimination Provision [WEP]. “It does a disservice to public service employees who paid into the Social Security fund when they took up a second private sector career or who needed to take a second job by shortchanging them when they retire,” says Bob Carlstrom, president of the advocacy affiliate of the 2.1 million-member Association of Mature American Citizens {AMAC].

Carlstrom and AMAC are putting their support behind legislation the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act to remedy what he calls “the unfair” impact that WEP has on those who chose public service as a primary career.
“WEP reduces Social Security benefits for a worker who receives a public pension.  This is problematic for public service employees that work another job on the side, or for individuals who want to transition into a public service profession such as teaching.  Both would receive reduced benefits even though they have already contributed money into the system.  Educators, police officers, and firefighters should not be in the position for weaker benefits after they have already contributed to the Social Security fund for many years.”
Russell Gloor, AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisor

According the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security advisor, Russell Gloor, “It’s not unusual for individuals who work in the private sector to transition into second, public sector careers. It is also commonplace for those working in the public sector to make ends meet by moonlighting in second, private-sector jobs. Either way they wind up making contributions into the Social Security pool. But many of them wind up having their Social Security benefits severely reduced because of the WEP clause. Current estimates are that nearly two million American workers are impacted by the Windfall Elimination Provision and it can have a particularly onerous bearing on police officers, firefighters and teachers.“

The Bipartisan Policy Center has also thrown its support behind WEP reform. As that influential think tank put it: “Many state and local government workers are not covered by Social Security, meaning that employees and their employers do not contribute payroll taxes on their earnings from those positions. Yet many of these workers also work part of their careers (or work part-time) in covered employment and will still be eligible for Social Security benefits. The WEP was originally designed to prevent these individuals from receiving unintentionally large Social Security benefits, but its methodology is overly complex and does not allocate benefits equitably.”

AMAC’s Gloor says it is understandable that workers who transitioned from a private sector job to public sector, Social Security-covered employment view WEP as unfair. “Even with 20 years of earnings from which Social Security taxes have been paid, their benefit can be reduced by as much as half simply because they had another career during which they didn’t contribute to Social Security.  Similarly, civil servants who moonlighted at a second job during their careers in order to get by and paid into the Social Security fund can get shortchanged. Nevertheless, WEP still applies today, amid the cries of unfairness by nearly two million affected Americans. Though several bills have, in recent years, been introduced to either repeal or reform the WEP provision, none have made it past being “referred to committee” in Congress.  According to those who are most hurt by WEP, it’s time for Congress to stop penalizing our nation’s public servants and enact WEP reform.”

About AMAC
AMAC Action is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit advocacy organization created to assist Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] members with grassroots participation on Capitol Hill and at the local level through its advocacy programs.