WEP/GPO Legislation (116th Congress)

Neal Introduces Legislation to Fix Social Security WEP Provision, Improve Public Employees’ Retirement Security

September 27, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal introduced the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act, H.R. 4540, legislation to fix the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) for future retirees and provide meaningful relief to current WEP retirees. The bill ensures that public servants across the nation can retire with the security and dignity they deserve.

The legislation establishes a new, fairer formula that will pay Social Security benefits in proportion to the share of a worker’s earnings that were covered for Social Security purposes. This provision is coupled with a benefit guarantee ensuring no benefit cuts relative to current law for all current and future retirees. Current WEP retirees will receive $150 a month in relief payments.

“The WEP negatively affects nearly 2 million retired public servants across the country, including about 73,000 in Massachusetts,” said Chairman Neal. “Public employees like firefighters, teachers, and police officers should not miss out on the Social Security benefits they earned over decades of hard work. With this legislation, these valued members of our communities will have greater retirement security and peace of mind.”

Originally, the WEP was intended to equalize the Social Security benefit formula for workers with similar earnings histories, both inside and outside of the Social Security system. However, in practice, it unfairly penalizes many public employees. The much-needed reforms in this bill provide meaningful WEP relief to current retirees and public employees while treating all workers fairly.

“Members on both sides of the aisle can get behind this legislation and the solutions it puts forward,” added Chairman Neal. “I want to commend Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Kevin Brady for his work to address the WEP issue for many years. He is a tireless advocate for affected workers, and I appreciate his commitment to fixing this problem. I look forward to working with him to move a solution through Congress expediently.”

Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act ~ H.R. 4540

Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act H.R. 4540 | Section-by-Section Summary 

Text of H.R. 4540

H.R. 4540 Co-Sponsors

Brady Introduces Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2019

The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2019 (H.R. 3934), introduced by Ways and Means top Republican Kevin Brady (R-TX), reforms the Social Security Act by replacing an unfair formula for calculating benefits – known as the Windfall Elimination Provision — with a new, fairer formula that treats teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other public servants like the rest of America’s workers.
Upon introduction of this legislation, the Texan lawmaker released the following statement:

“For years, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for a permanent solution to fix WEP. This arbitrary Washington compromise has resulted in unfair treatment for our teachers, fire fighters, and police officers; and Texans simply cannot afford Congress to remain inactive and let this unfair policy be the law of the land.

“Now is the time for Congress to put forth a solution that can actually be signed by the President. This legislation permanently repeals the current WEP, and instead uses a fairer formula that treats public servants like all other American workers. Democrats agree that this is a problem we must address now, and we hope they join us in fixing this long-standing problem this year. While I am introducing a bill today, I am committed to staying at the table to get a bill to the President’s desk”

Text of H.R. 3934

H.R. 3934 Fact Sheet

How H.R. 3934 compares to H.R. 6933 (115th Congress)

H.R. 3934 Cosponsors

Legislation to Repeal WEP and GPO
Davis Introduces Bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act

Washington, January 4, 2019

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) this week introduced the bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act, which eliminates the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO), two titles of the Social Security Act that unfairly reduce or eliminate Social Security benefits for millions of Americans who have devoted much of their careers to public service.

“This 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.”

“These outdated provisions deprive educators and other public employees of the benefits they have earned and the secure retirement they deserve,” said Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin. “I thank Representative Davis for his leadership on this issue and for his support of educators throughout Illinois and across the nation.”

Davis introduced the bill along with cosponsors U.S. Reps. David Cicilline (RI-01), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Dan Lipinski (IL-03), Mike Bost (IL-12), Adam Kinzinger (IL-16), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), David Price (NC-04), Thomas Massie (WV-04), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), John Garamendi (CA-03), Mark Takano (CA-41), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Garret Graves (LA-06), and David Joyce (OH-14).

Text of H.R. 141

H.R. 141 Cosponsors

Brown, Collins, Baldwin and Murkowski Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Police Officers, Teachers
Bill Would Ensure Teachers and Police Officers Get Full Social Security Benefits

Thursday, February 28, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced bipartisan legislation that would ensure public sector workers and their families can receive full Social Security benefits after two previous statutes reduced them. The Senators’ bill, the Social Security Fairness Act, would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) from the Social Security Act. Both of the statutes significantly reduce benefits for nearly three million Americans, including 241,755 Ohioans, many of which are teachers, police officers and state, county and local government workers.

“These workers have taught Ohio children and kept Ohio communities safe, and it’s up to us to make sure law enforcement officers and teachers can retire with their full Social Security benefits,” said Senator Brown. “It’s not just about the workers – their families suffer the consequences of reduced benefits, too. This small fix will help these workers and their families have the peace of mind that their Social Security benefits will be there for them when they retire from a life of dedicated service to our communities.”

“Public servants from across the country, such as retired teachers and police officers, have dedicated their professional careers to public service, yet many face reduced retirement benefits due to the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision,” said Senator Collins. “I held the first Senate oversight hearing on this issue and have continuously worked to correct it. This important, bipartisan bill would eliminate these unfair provisions that have enormous financial implications for many federal, state, and local employees.”

“Our social security promises must be kept for our teachers, law enforcement officials and other public servants who’ve devoted their lives to our communities. They deserve the retirement security they’ve worked for throughout their careers,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan effort and fight to make sure that when our public workers complete their service to our communities, they have the full social security benefits that they’ve earned.”

“This commonsense legislation repeals outdated social security law provisions that unfairly reduce or eliminate Social Security benefits that public employees have earned. This bill aims to make the social security program as fair as possible, and will ensure that additional offsets will not occur to our public sector employees’ retirement plans. This means that a firefighter or a teacher who has dedicated years of service to Alaska will not see unfair reductions in their benefits for simply choosing a new career path,” said Senator Murkowski. “Public workers deserve to earn the same Social Security benefits as employees in the private sector.”

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 nearly three million Americans – including many teachers and police officers.

The Social Security Fairness Act would repeal both the WEP and GPO statutes, ensuring public sector workers and their families receive their full Social Security benefits.

Text of S. 521

S. 521 Cosponsors