With Two Million Public Sector Employees Receiving Reduced Benefits, Brown and Collins Will Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Ensure All Americans Receive Their Full Earned Benefits

Bill Would Eliminate the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset, Which Reduce Benefits for Firefighters, Teachers, and Police Officers, Among Others

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) will today introduce bipartisan legislation that would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO), which both reduce benefits for public sector workers and their families and penalize workers who split their careers between the private and public sectors.

“For many Americans, Social Security benefits are the foundation of their retirement security,” said Brown. “But many of our public sector workers like teachers and first-responders have seen their benefits reduced for years because of unfair laws that target them because they also receive a pension. These workers have taught our children and kept our communities safe. It’s time they receive equal treatment under Social Security law, which is why I’m introducing the Social Security Fairness Act.

“Our teachers, police officers, firefighters, postal workers, and other public employees are critical to the safety and wellbeing of our families.  By repealing these unfair provisions, this bipartisan legislation makes certain that deficiencies in current law do not prevent public servants and their families from receiving all of the Social Security benefits that they have earned through their service,” said Collins.   

“Educators welcome efforts by Congress to fully repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP),” said Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association (NEA). “These provisions can drastically reduce the Social Security benefits of public sector workers, including educators and education support professionals who know the names of the students in classrooms, buses, lunchrooms, and schools across the country. Public employees ought to retire with dignity and ought to receive the Social Security benefits they have earned without draconian reductions.”

The Social Security Fairness Act, introduced by Brown and Collins would eliminate provisions to the Social Security Act that significantly reduce benefits for certain public sector workers and their spouses.

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), enacted in 1983, reduces the Social Security benefits of workers who receive pensions from a federal, state, or local government for employment not covered by Social Security. The Government Pension Offset (GPO), enacted in 1977, reduces Social Security spousal benefits for spouses, widows, and widowers whose spouses receive pensions from a federal, state, or local government. Together, these provisions reduce Social Security benefits for more than two million Americans – including many teachers, firefighters, and police officers.

The Social Security Fairness Act would repeal the WEP and the GPO. The legislation would amend Section 202(k) of the Social Security Act to repeal the GPO and Section 215 of the Act to repeal the WEP.