Editorial: HPOU supports Brady’s bill to enhance Social Security Benefits for police officers, firefighters, school teachers

Tom Kennedy

HOW MANY TIMES DOES EACH AND EVERY congressman from the Greater Houston/Southeast Texas area agree unanimously on a House bill that enhances the retirement benefits for police officers, firefighters and even public school teachers?

Not very often, particularly in this day and time when so many politicians and pundits take their shots at public servants – almost always the men and women police officers whose job is to protect the public 24/seven.

But Congressman Kevin Brady of the 8th District in Conroe/Montgomery County has been working for more than a few years on a measure that would restore more fair and equitable Social Security benefits for officers, firefighters and teachers. Needless to say, the Houston Police Officers Union stands in full support of H. R. 711. Brady has numerous co-sponsors both from the northeastern United States and other regions of the nation. Most importantly, as the Badge & Gun determined, every congressman from this area is on the list of co-sponsors.

The house resolution currently rests comfortably in Brady’s power House Ways and Means Committee, where everyone calls him “Mister Committee Chairman.”

If passed – and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t – the measure would make sure that police officers receive the actual amount of Social Security benefits earned in extra jobs. Over the past decades an unfair government formula has limited those entitled retirement funds. Why? Only because we collect a police pension upon retirement. As Houston police officers we pay into our police retirement fund instead of Social Security.

But that’s not the pertinent point here. That crazy formula limits the percentage of rightfully earned Social Security benefits we have accumulated in extra jobs and in work places we served before becoming commissioned officers. The limitation formula is known as WEP or the Windfall Elimination Provision. It even sounds like bureaucratic nonsense.

We’re indeed ready for a formula that reaffirms our fairly earned Social Security entitlements instead of limiting them in accordance with some unjustifiable, indiscriminate bureaucratic blueprint.