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Congressman Gonzalez Co-Sponsors Social Security Benefit Bill That Protects Teachers, Firefighters, and Police Officers

October 9, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) has co-sponsored H.R. 6933, the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2018, that makes sure that teachers, firefighters, and police officers will receive a Social Security benefit that reflects their actual work history.

The bill also provides critical relief to public servants who are already retired and are affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), which uses an arbitrary, one-size-fits-all formula for certain public servants.

“Social Security benefits are not equal for all Texans – plain and simple,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “I have heard from too many Central and South Texans who dedicated their lives to public service and are unfairly penalized because of the Windfall Elimination Provision. This bill will address that issue and secure benefits of hard-working Americans across the 15th District of Texas.”

Key points of H.R. 6933:

  • Ensures that public servants who earn both a Social Security benefit and contributed to a Social Security substitute will finally receive treatment equal to other workers.
  • Permanently repeals the current WEP and instead creates a new, fairer formula that treats public servants like all other American workers.
  • Provides relief to retirees affected by the WEP.
  • Tests ways to increase information sharing between Social Security and state/local pension systems to improve the accuracy of applying the WEP.

The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2018 phases in a new benefit formula that will ensure today’s workers receive Social Security benefits that reflect their actual work history. Those at or near retirement will receive meaningful relief to offset some of the WEP reduction.

For today’s workers:

  • Public servants’ Social Security benefits will no longer be figured by the arbitrary WEP formula established in 1983 but will be based on each worker’s Social Security contributions – just like everyone else.
  • Under the Public Servant Fairness Formula, a worker’s benefit amount will be calculated using total lifetime earnings and then adjusted for the proportion of earnings that came from jobs where the individual paid Social Security taxes.
  • The new formula will be phased in to allow individuals time to plan.
  • Public servants who turn age 62 on or after January 1, 2025 will have their benefits calculated using the new formula.

For those at or near retirement:

  • Retired public servants currently subject to the WEP – and those who turn age 62 before January 1, 2025 – will receive restoration of benefits payments that offset a portion of the WEP reduction.
  • In 2020, this payment will be $100/month for retired workers and $50/month for individuals receiving a spouse benefit. This amount will be updated annually based on the Social Security Cost-of-Living-Adjustment.

I am calling on my fellow colleagues in Congress to come together and consider H.R. 6933 that allows Social Security to continue functioning for the people. The health and well-being of millions of American senior citizens depends on it.