The Social Security Fairness Act is back and gaining cosponsors in Congress. It’s an idea that won’t go away because the injustice it targets has not gone away. For too long, school-district personnel and employees of other local governments in Texas (and a dozen or so other states) have been hammered by two unjust Social Security statutes that take away benefits duly earned by these employees or by their spouses on their behalf. These provisions are the so-called Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset. The former can take away hundreds of dollars a month of benefits you have earned in your own right by contributing to Social Security. The latter can take away a large portion or all of the spousal benefit earned for you by your spouse’s Social Security contributions. In either case you lose earned Social Security pension benefits because you also receive a pension from a local government that does not participate in Social Security.
Please note the bill numbers for the House and Senate companion versions of the bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act: H.R. 973 by Rep. Rodney Davis, Republican of Illinois; and S. 1651 by Sen. Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio. The House bill already has 114 cosponsors, including five of the 36 Texans in the House: Michael Burgess of Flower Mound, Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock, Marc Veasey of Fort Worth, Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, and Lloyd Doggett of Austin (the first two are Republicans, the latter three are Democrats). Neither U.S. senator from Texas has signed on yet.
The upcoming August congressional recess will create an opportunity to contact members of Congress on this issue. Be on the alert for a Hotline message that will provide some information and tools you can use to focus their attention on the issue of Social Security fairness.