US Rep. Gonzalez bill to help public employees get full retirement benefits

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Vicente Gonzalez (Courtesy: Congressman Vicente Gonzalez/Facebook)

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, whose district includes Cameron, Kenedy, Kleberg, and Willacy counties and eastern Hidalgo County, has re-introduced H.R. 5342, the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2023 aimed at eliminating the Windfall Elimination Provision, establishing a new formula to ensure millions of public servants receive their full retirement benefits.

The legislation would also allow Social Security benefits to keep pace with the rising cost-of-living, healthcare and prescription drugs.

“This bipartisan bill would ensure our teachers, police officers, and firefighters are treated fairly by replacing the Wind Elimination Provision,” Gonzalez stated. “Retired public servants deserve to fully benefit from the system they’ve paid into for most of their lives. It is untenable to reduce these benefits as the cost-of-living rises. I will continue working to eliminate the unfair WEP formula and expand Social Security so South Texans may retire with the dignity they deserve.”

“The Association of Texas Professional Educators is proud to support HR 5342, the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2023, and thanks Congressman Arrington and Congressman Gonzalez for their continued support for the active and retired educators of Texas as well as public servants at large. We believe that this legislation is a step in the right direction toward fixing the longstanding inequities caused by the Windfall Elimination Provision and providing the vital relief that our public servants deserve and we urge Congress to continue working diligently toward that end,” Monty Exeter, director of government relations for the Association of Texas Professional Educators, stated.

A firefighter cools down after helping battle an apartment complex blaze on Sept. 4, 2011, in McAllen. (Gabe Hernandez | The Monitor)

“More than 200,000 Texas retired public educators and more than two million public servants nationwide are negatively affected by the unfair and arbitrary Windfall Elimination Provision, which reduces their earned Social Security benefits,” Tim Lee, director of the Texas Retired Teachers Association, stated. “Ninety-five percent of Texas public school employees do not pay into Social Security through their work with Texas schools. However, many have other jobs before, during or after their employment in education in which they do pay into the federal program.”

“TRTA hopes to build on the bipartisan momentum of the last Congress and work with the Texas Delegation and Congressman Vicente Gonzalez to move toward that ultimate goal,” he stated. “We appreciate Congressman Gonzales for leading in the effort to reform and repeal these egregious social security penalties.”