Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) reintroduced last week the bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act (SSFA HR-82) which would eliminate the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO)
The WEP and GPO reduce or eliminate Social Security benefits for those who are covered by a government (federal, state or local)-sponsored guaranteed pension plan, such as federal employees who are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS).
“This bipartisan bill ensures that a teacher who spends his or her summers working a second job or a police officer who changes careers after years of service will not face a possible 40 percent reduction in their Social Security benefits,” said Davis. “By repealing these outdated provisions that unfairly penalize public servants in Illinois, we can provide some certainty to retirees while helping to recruit future teachers, firefighters, and police officers.”
Effort Endorsed by NARFE
“NARFE applauds Reps. Davis and Spanberger as they reach across the aisle, setting an example for their parties, in an effort to put an end to these shameful policies, which have harmed millions of hardworking and dedicated public servants for too many years,” said National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) National President Ken Thomas.
Background of WEP and GPO
Davis’ website provided this background on WEP and GPO:
The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) reduces the earned Social Security benefits of an individual who also receives a public pension from a job not covered by Social Security. For example, educators who do not earn Social Security in the public schools but who work part-time or during the summer in jobs covered by Social Security have reduced benefits even though they pay into the system just like others. The WEP also affects people who move from a job in which they earn Social Security to a job, such as teaching, in which they do not.
The Government Pension Offset (GPO) affects the spousal benefits of people who work as federal, state, or local government employees—including educators, police officers, and firefighters—if the job is not covered by Social Security. GPO reduces by two-thirds the benefit received by surviving spouses who also collect a government pension. Nine out of 10 public employees affected by the GPO lose their entire spousal benefit, even though their spouse paid Social Security taxes for many years.
The WEP substantially reduces benefits workers included and counted on when planning their retirement and it substantially penalizes lower paid public employees. These provisions also discourage qualified, talented individuals from entering into public service professions, hindering efforts to attract new math and science teachers from the private sector unwilling to sacrifice earned Social Security from prior careers. The WEP and GPO provisions do not eliminate a windfall for workers, they penalize public service employees by taking away benefits they earned throughout their careers.
Many attempts have been made in the last several years to eliminate the GPO and WEP without success.
Co-leading the legislation with Rep. Davis is Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA). The legislation currently has 21 bipartisan co-sponsors. In the last session of Congress, Davis organized a bipartisan group of 264 co-sponsors of the legislation.