The U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security met on Nov. 20, 2023, to discuss Social Security’s Disservice to Public Servants: How the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) Mistreat Government Workers. The Texas Classroom Teachers Association submitted written testimony advocating to eliminate or restructure the WEP and GPO. TCTA has a longstanding record of supporting legislation to address these unfair provisions.
The WEP penalizes Texas educators who have earned benefits through other employment in which they paid into Social Security, and the GPO reduces or eliminates spousal benefits for most Texas school employees. These provisions took effect in 1983 as a means of eliminating the “windfall” of Social Security benefits received by beneficiaries who also receive a government pension based on work not covered by Social Security. Although 96% of Texas public school employees do not pay into Social Security through their work with Texas schools, many have other employment in in their working career in which they do/did pay into the federal program.
The committee adjourned without taking any official action. Legislation related to the WEP and GPO is not expected to pass by the end of the year and faces hurdles in 2024. The cost to eliminate or restructure the WEP and GPO to be more favorable to educators and other government employees continues to hinder the ability to advance legislation.
Last year, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that eliminating the WEP and the GPO would have cost $183 billion over the period 2022-2032 and changed the projected year of reserve depletion for the combined Social Security trust funds from 2035 under current law to 2034.
TCTA appreciates the members of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security for bringing this issue to the forefront. The recent Ways and Means hearing served to gain momentum. TCTA will continue to work with Congress for fairer treatment of educators under the WEP and GPO.
Additional background information on the WEP and GPO may be found on TCTA’s website here.
Legislation related to the WEP and GPO: