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The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) reduces the Social Security (SS) benefits for individuals by up to 50% of their foreign pension benefits. The WEP impact is reduced by the number of years an individual has contributed to Social Security and only applies to individuals with foreign pensions who have contributed for between 10-29 years to Social Security with the maximum monthly reduction (2016) being the lower of $428 and 50% of your foreign pension benefit.

Self-employed Americans living abroad often must pay SECA taxes in addition to the social security taxes they pay in their country of residence. No voluntary program exists for non-self-employed Americans to contribute to the Social Security system.

Foreign spouses and adopted children of Americans are often denied survivor benefits. (For more detailed discussion please see: Eliminate Deficiencies of the Social Security System (Feb. 2015) and ACA’s Position on Social Security Issues and the Overseas American.

Social Security should provide dedicated support to Americans overseas who are accessing Social Security benefits. This includes on-line viewing of their accounts, assistance for first-time applications for Social Security numbers and a dedicated out reach for overseas Americans with questions and problems. Currently Social Security services are provided through the Federal Benefits Units located in US Consulates and Embassies. With more and more individuals coming into compliance and needing assistance with Obtaining or reclaiming Social Security numbers and with questions on their benefits, the Social Security Administration needs to expand its out-reach and provide more direct assistance.

Legislative Efforts

Legislation calling for the full repeal of WEP was introduced in the House on January 4, 2021 Text - H.R.82 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): Social Security Fairness Act of 2021 | | Library of Congress A Senate bill was also introduced on April 22, 2021 S.1302 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): Social Security Fairness Act | | Library of Congress. Currently the status of the House bill is as follows:

The Social Security Fairness Act HR-82 has now moved to Discharge Petition which means it needs 218 signatures for it to advance to a House floor vote. ACA will provide more information on the Discharge Petition as it becomes available. Recent history on the bill is outlined below. 

  • H.R. 82 obtained 300 Cosponsors to utilize the House Consensus Calendar process.
  • A floor vote was stopped after the Ways and Means Committee held a markup on the bill on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, and reported it out of the Committee without recommendation.
  • The Committee provided no alternative solution to provide a WEP/GPO fix. Procedurally, this markup prevents it from receiving a floor vote based on Consensus Calendar rules.
  • On Monday September 19, 2022, H.Res 1367 was introduced for the purpose of filing a Discharge Petition.
  • The resolution creates a special rule to trigger a vote on H.R. 82.
  • This resolution will be eligible to file a discharge petition 7 legislative days from September 19, 2022.
  • The petition will be eligible for Members to sign on September 30, 2022, assuming there are no changes to the legislative calendar.
  • To receive a vote on the House Floor, the Discharge Petition must be signed by 218 Members of the House which will require bipartisan support. Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives - Discharge Petition Details - 17

ACA supports repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and stresses that any coorective measure addressing WEP must include US citizens overseas who receive benefits from foriegn pensions which can trigger the WEP application of reduced benefits to their US Social Security benefits.

Join ACA's write-in campaign to support the repeal of WEP and ask your legislator to sign onto the Dischage Petition..