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Alaska lawmakers unanimously request Social Security reform to help teachers

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Alaska lawmakers unanimously request Social Security reform to help teachers

May 17, 2024 | 6:00 pm ET
By James Brooks
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Alaska lawmakers unanimously request Social Security reform to help teachers
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Rep. Alyse Galvin, I-Anchorage, speaks with Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau, on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

The Alaska Legislature has unanimously approved a resolution asking Congress and federal officials to remove the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision, which reduces Social Security benefits for many public employees, including teachers.

The Alaska House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 18 by a 40-0 vote on May 1, and the Senate followed suit with a 20-0 vote on Tuesday. 

The provision reduces Social Security benefits for people who have worked jobs that pay Social Security taxes and jobs that do not. 

Because Alaska’s current public-employee retirement system doesn’t pay into Social Security, teachers, police, firefighters, and other public employees are penalized by Social Security for working in Alaska.

More than 15% of all workers nationwide who are affected by the provision are Alaskans. 

The Legislature has failed to pass pension legislation that could address the problem and has instead requested that Congress address part of the state’s issues with retirement.

Rep. Alyse Galvin, I-Anchorage, said the provision has had “a disproportionate and negative impact on Alaskans for too long.”

The Legislature passed a similar resolution, also without opposition, in 2022. The provision remains in federal law.