Spanberger, Graves Lead Bipartisan Effort to Eliminate the WEP & GPO, Momentum Grows to Provide Long Overdue Fairness to Public Servants

Spanberger’s “Social Security Fairness Act” is Supported by National Organizations Representing Federal Employees, Teachers, Police Officers, Firefighters, & Other Public Servants

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Garret Graves (R-LA-06) are leading the bipartisan, national effort to eliminate the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO).

Spanberger’s Social Security Fairness Act would eliminate both the WEP and the GPO, two provisions 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 — including federal employees, police officers, firefighters, and educators.  The WEP impacts approximately 2 million Social Security beneficiaries — and the GPO impacts nearly 800,000 retirees.

Spanberger and Graves reintroduced the Social Security Fairness Act last month — and the bill already has nearly 130 cosponsors in just four weeks. Spanberger originally introduced the Social Security Fairness Act in January 2021 at the start of the 117th Congress, and she has consistently pushed for a vote on the bill.

“As a Member of Congress representing thousands of federal employees and retirees, I remain committed to eliminating the WEP and the GPO. Last Congress, we saw massive, bipartisan support for delivering this long overdue peace of mind to public servants in Virginia and across the country,” said Spanberger. “The Social Security Fairness Act recognizes the sacrifices that come with serving our communities, our Commonwealth, and our country. I want to thank Congressman Graves for his continued partnership on this issue — and I am looking forward to finally righting this wrong and making sure America’s federal employees, teachers, police officers, and firefighters receive the retirement security they deserve.”

“WEP and GPO only provide a disincentive or penalize thousands of Louisiana’s public servants,” said Graves. “Our teachers, police officers, firefighters, emergency responders, and other local and state public servants – and their spouses or survivors – have been wrongly penalized. We will keep fighting to get them the full retirement benefits they paid for, including those who have already retired. We’re not giving up.”

The Social Security Fairness Act is endorsed by several organizations representing career public servants in Virginia, Louisiana, and across the country.

“NARFE has pushed for years to repeal the unfair WEP and GPO penalties. Today, with the support of Reps. Garret Graves and Abigail Spanberger, we continue to build on the momentum created last Congress to do away with these penalties. NARFE knows that an overwhelming majority of Congress understands the inequity placed on our nation’s public servants by the WEP and GPO, and we look forward to growing support for the Social Security Fairness Act and the day when NARFE members and all affected by these penalties receive their full Social Security,” said William Shackelford, President, National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE).

“The WEP and GPO provisions do not eliminate a windfall for workers; instead, they have proved to be a windfall for the Federal government at the expense of public employees. That’s not right and it’s not fair. It is incumbent on Congress to repeal these inequitable provisions and pass the Social Security Fairness Act, which will also help to stimulate the economy by putting additional cash in the pocket of retired public employees as they and their families struggle in these trying times,” said Patrick Yoes, President, National Fraternal Order of Police.

“For over 40 years, the GPO and WEP have been harming the retirement security of our nation’s public safety officers simply because they chose a public service profession by taking away hard-earned and much needed benefits.  While initially meant as a “leveling” response, in recent years the GPO and WEP have been used to prolong the life of the Social Security Trust Fund on the backs of our nation’s public servants, who are seeing cuts across the board to their hard-earned retirement benefits. By totally repealing both the GPO and WEP, the Social Security Fairness Act would preserve the retirement security of those who selflessly serve and protect our communities.  We thank Congressman Graves and Congresswoman Spanberger’s for continuing to fight to protect the retirement benefits of our nation’s public servants,” said Bill Johnson, Executive Director, National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO).

Click here for the full list of the Social Security Fairness Act’s cosponsors.

BACKGROUND

Currently, the 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.

Likewise, the 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. The GPO reduces by two-thirds the benefit received by surviving spouses who also collect a government pension.

In September 2022, Spanberger called on U.S. House leaders to advance the Social Security Fairness Act out of committee to receive a vote by the full U.S. House. Additionally, she highlighted the personal stories of Virginians who have contacted her office and shared how their hard-earned Social Security benefits have been slashed by the WEP and GPO.

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