Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision

Social Security Is ImportantTom Reed claims to have four principles for reforming Social Security. The principles are:

1. Long-term economic growth by rewarding work, not penalizing it,
2. Equal treatment for public servants,
3. Act now to protect future generations’ benefits, and
4. Protect the most vulnerable people through focused reforms.

These statements are cryptic, but surely not good ideas. The first means cut taxes. The third means cut benefits. The fourth means change SS from retirement insurance to welfare. But what about the second? Lorie Konish, writing for CNBC explains:

The Windfall Elimination Provision, or WEP, went into effect along with Social Security reform changes that were enacted in 1983. The rule means certain workers who are eligible for Social Security retirement or disability benefits, but who have also worked for employers who don’t withhold Social Security taxes, receive reduced benefits.

The logic behind the rule is that those workers also receive pensions from their other jobs, often in the public service sector. The WEP has some exceptions. For example, it does not apply to workers who have 30 or more years of substantial earnings under Social Security. It also does not apply to survivors’ benefits.

I don’t know why Republicans propose changing the WEP rule; their proposals would increase the cost of benefits while they resist proposals to increase revenue. Concern for teachers retirement income seems improbable for Republican legislators. This could be an ill-motivated effort to drain the trust fund faster.

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2 Responses to Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision

  1. Gary Perry says:

    Social Security as it is currently being funded and administered is tje largest Ponzi scheme in the country.

    There are no investments being made with tje funds paid into the system.

    There are many people who co tune to get more out of the social security than money they have paid into the system.

    There are also many people who due to death before they start collecting and who may not have and spouse or age eligible children so their funds are lost to the system.

    Also, social security is used as a “welfare program” for under age survivors and qualified “Disabled” persons.

    We all know people who are of working age but do not work.
    They instead collect SSI benefits due to some B/S health problem.
    This frustrates me especially when I see truly handicapped people who work for a living.


  2. whungerford says:

    Gary, your six points are all wrong except for number five which has some truth to it. However, it is a good thing that underage dependents may benefit from a deceased parent’s SS. You complain that people may die before they start collecting benefits and do not have a spouse or eligible children who might benefit. Then you complain that under age survivors do benefit. None of your six points addresses the windfall elimination rule.


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