Government pensioners look to elbow into Social Security talks – JP
For about 2 million people, the windfall elimination provision applies a less generous formula for Social Security benefits to retirees with income from employment that didn’t pay into the Social Security system, including state and local government jobs, employers in foreign countries as well as federal agencies prior to 1984.
For about 735,000 people, the government pension offset cuts spousal, widow or widower benefits for those with their own pensions from work not covered by Social Security. That Carter-era change was intended to limit benefits for those who aren’t financially dependent on their spouse given their own employment.
Both provisions were aimed at reducing unfairly high payouts from Social Security. But many lawmakers, public workers and retiree groups now say the decades-old changes went too far and punish teachers, police officers, firefighters, government workers and others who’ve prioritized public service.
Graves is lead sponsor of a bill that would strike both provisions and grant higher Social Security benefits. His bill, whose lead Democratic sponsor is Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, topped 300 co-sponsors last year and had enough backing to force a House vote. But the Ways and Means Committee marked up the legislation in a procedural move that blocked it from going to the floor.
Graves’ bill has already racked up 180 House cosponsors this year, and he said his plan is to keep adding names, secure a House vote and use that momentum to put pressure on the Senate with as much time as possible before this Congress expires.