Wednesday U.S. Senator Mark Begich introduced The Social Security Fairness Act of 2013 to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset, which unfairly reduces Social Security benefits for thousands of Alaskan retirees.
The bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Dean Heller (R-NV) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), will ensure that Social Security remains viable and robust for decades.
Begich told us that many Americans have been paying into Social Security for their entire careers and it is congresses as their representatives to uphold the federal government’s end of the deal.
The state lone congressional democrat noted that there are responsible ways to cut the budget without hurting our seniors. While he agrees that we need to make major cuts to reduce the deficit, let’s be clear, Social Security is not the problem.
The bill will repeal provisions that unfairly penalize workers. The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)and Government Pension Offset (GPO) formulas currently used to calculate Social Security benefits penalize workers, especially many of Alaska’s public employees, who contributed to Social Security in past jobs but retire under other “non-covered” government pensions. WEP and GPO were enacted in the 1980s and are still hurting retirees today. In Alaska, 8,000 people are currently penalized by the WEP and more than 2,500 by the GPO. Nationwide, over 2 million people are being adversely affected.
Begich has made numerous proposals to strengthen Social Security since coming to the Senate including introducing the Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act that would extend the solvency of Social Security for approximately 75 years by requiring higher-income Americans to pay Social Security on their earnings all year long and adjusting the formula for cost-of-living increases to better reflect the needs of our seniors and persons with disabilities. The bill enjoys support from the Alaska chapter of the AARP.