Saturday, March 19, 2016

I Will Try to Remember to Watch That Congressional Hearing on HR 711

I was mad as hell it wasn't an outright repeal of WEP, but it appears I would not be affected by WEP if this legislation passes the current Congress.

This is the first time in some 30 years a proposal to deal with this offset problem has even had a hearing. The hearing will take place this Tuesday at 7 a.m. PDT.

Hopefully with the bi-partisan support something is finally done with this stupid law.

It was enacted during the Reagan years in a cynical attempt to show the public that people who have public pensions who don't pay into Social Security don't need them because they have these "huge" pensions. Yeah, like $318 a month like yours truly that would screw me out of $110 of my SS benefit when I have to take it next year is huge.

That was for working for a total of just over five years in Nevada. Not 25 years, not 30 years, not 35 years, but a mere five years in public employment.

According to the Brady proposal, people who currently have offsets will have their benefits recalculated; for those of us who will get SS after January 1, 2017, we will not be affected by offsets at all anymore. All Social Security payments will count without any reductions.

AARP finally came out with backing this proposal:

The Equal Treatment for Public Servants Act establishes a better rule to make it easier
for individuals and the SSA to determine and receive their earned Social Security
benefits. Under the bill:

 For workers who retire after January 1, 2017, at age 62 or older, all of their Social
Security earnings will be counted without any reduction, which will result in an
average benefit increase of $200 a month;

 For workers who already have retired, the SSA will re-calculate benefits, and
according to SSA, benefits may increase an average of about $100 a month;

 SSA will begin data matching Social Security and state and local pension
databases to ensure accurate benefit calculations, beginning in 2017.

Congress apparently hasn't been sitting on its ass like it usually does. Of course it helps it is an election year:

In addition to the hearing, a great deal of work has taken place behind the scenes over the past two years to build support for the bill’s eventual passage. The first major step was the assembly of a true national coalition of impacted states, followed by the recruitment of Brady and Neal as the lead Republican and Democrat sponsors.

Next was the work done by the Social Security Administration to help formulate the structure of the new benefit, as well as identify a funding source. Social Security, as well as the Obama Administration, have since certified the proposal contained within H.R. 711 as cost neutral.

In recent months, Mass Retirees and the Retired Texas Teachers have led the national effort to gain support for the proposal among the various interest groups. This effort paid-off just last week with the announcement of support for H.R. 711 by the AARP.

“Assuming the hearing goes well and we continue to build momentum, the next step will be the “mark up” of H.R. 711 to be favorably released from the Social Security Committee and brought to the House floor for a vote. Ideally, this will happen before the Congressional summer recess,” explains Duhamel. “From there the proposal goes to the US Senate. Thankfully, all indications are that if we get the bill to President Obama he will sign it into law. But there is a lot of work that remains to be done between now and then if we are to be successful in 2016.”

We will see what happens.

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