Green Supports the WEP/GPO Discharge Petition
March 10, 2004
Washington, DC - Congressman Gene Green (D-TX) today joined his Texas Democratic colleagues to express his support for Texas teachers and other public servants by signing a discharge petition to force action on HR 594, legislation to eliminate the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset.
These two provisions keep far too many dedicated public servants from collecting their full Social Security benefits, said Green. The Windfall Elimination Provision unfairly penalizes individuals who have earned both a Social Security benefit and also collect a retirement benefit from a state or local government.
An example would be if a police officer moonlights as a security guard in his off hours, he might collect a Social Security benefit for his security guard work, in addition to a state pension for his time on the force. Because he collects a state pension, the WEP would cut this police officers Social Security benefit practically in half, even though he paid into the system for 40 quarters.
The Government Pension Offset is equally unfair, added Green. This provision reduces an individuals spousal benefit by 2/3rds if he or she collects a pension based on employment not covered by Social Security.
School employees, police officers, firefighters, and other civil servants are often affected by this unfair provision. It is particularly burdensome to low-income individuals, who are counting on a full spousal benefit to see them through their retirement.
We cant afford to waste any more time. In Texas, teachers are leaving the profession in droves, rather than lose their Social Security spousal benefit, concluded Green. We must do something about these unfair provisions and it is time to deliver fairness to our public servants.