Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, introduced the legislation.

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, introduced the legislation. J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Lawmakers Introduce Another Bill to Repeal Controversial Tax Rule Affecting Federal Retirees

Bipartisan legislation would replace a provision that reduces Social Security benefits for federal, state and local agency employees who spent time in the private sector with a new formula that accounts for their time outside of government, and provide rebates for current retirees.

A bipartisan group of 36 House lawmakers this month introduced legislation that would repeal a controversial rule that reduces Social Security benefits federal employees are eligible to receive when they retire.

The windfall elimination provision reduces the Social Security benefits of retired federal, state and local government workers who spent time in the private sector whose government retirement system does not intend Social Security to be part of their retirement income, like employees in the Civil Service Retirement System.

The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act (H.R. 5834), introduced by Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, would replace the windfall elimination provision with a new formula that would more accurately reflect the proportion of a retiree’s career spent in government compared to their time in the private sector, and it would provide a $100 monthly rebate for retirees—and a $50 rebate each month for surviving spouses—ages 60 and older currently impacted by the windfall elimination provision.

Social Security benefits for people between the ages of 22 and 59 would be calculated based on the more generous of either the windfall elimination provision or the new formula.

“I’m proud to join with colleagues on both sides of the aisle from nine different states to repeal the WEP and make it fairer for public servants who have worked and paid into Social Security,” Brady said in a statement. “Many of our public servants have worked extra jobs or an extra career, paying into a Social Security system that treats them differently. We want equal treatment and believe it’s time for Congress to act.”

Brady’s bill marks the latest in several pieces of legislation currently under consideration in Congress to tackle the windfall elimination provision. The Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act would create a similar “public servant protection” formula to calculate Social Security benefits to replace the windfall elimination provision and grant $150 in cash payments to retirees affected by the provision, while the Social Security Fairness Act would eliminate the provision altogether.

National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association President Ken Thomas applauded the bill’s introduction, although he noted that the association has long advocated for a full repeal of the windfall elimination provision.

“There is broad support for dismantling these intolerable offsets; 283 House members have cosponsored at least one of these bills,” Thomas said. “That’s because the WEP has cost public servants billions of dollars in Social Security benefits that they rightfully earned. While NARFE’s ultimate goal is for Congress to fully repeal the WEP and [government pension offset], reform efforts such as the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act are a good first step toward correcting this discriminatory provision. What’s crucial now is for members of both parties to seek common ground and finally provide relief to WEP-affected retirees.”

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