Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision | New NY 23rd

Tom 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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