This file photo from 2021 shows a Social Security card in Tigard, Ore. Credit: Jenny Kane / AP

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Some Mainers and other public U.S. retirees will unfairly continue to have their Social Security benefits reduced in 2022 by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and/or the Government Pension Offset (GPO). There was hope that the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, recently signed into law by President Joe Biden, was going to include a WEP reform attachment. But this did not happen.

In the House of Representatives, Democrats and Republicans disagreed about two key factors of WEP reform: the size of monthly rebates to retirees and the length of a “hold harmless clause” that would protect future retirees from reduction of Social Security benefits. The Rep. Kevin Brady bill, HR 5834, has a rebate of $100 and a 40-year clause reduction while the Rep. Richard Neal bill, HR 2337, has $150 a month rebate and a clause in perpetuity. Even if a House bipartisan agreement ever happens in 2022, some Republican senators also disagree about those reform key factors.  

A passage of any Social Security legislation in the Senate requires a 60-vote majority support. In 2022 this probably will not be possible. HR 5723 and HR 82 are two other bills in the House. Both would totally repeal WEP. HR 82 would also repeal the Government Pension Offset/GPO. But these lack national support.  

The harsh reality is that 2 million retirees in the U.S. will continue to lose their full Social Security benefits in 2022. While they worked they willingly paid into a system that was supposed to fully support them in retirement. Our government now is not fulfilling this obligation and is dishonoring and betraying them.

Karen E. Holmes