Spanberger Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Social Security Benefits of Public Sector Employees

The Congresswoman’s Social Security Fairness Act Would Make Sure Public Employees Like Teachers & First Responders Receive the Full Social Security Benefits They’ve Earned From Private Sector Work

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger introduced bipartisan legislation to eliminate the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (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.

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.

The Social Security Fairness Act would prevent benefits from being dramatically reduced by eliminating both of these provisions. Spanberger co-led the introduction of this bipartisan legislation alongside U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL-13).

“Virginians shouldn’t be penalized for careers in public service – and that’s why eliminating the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision is so important. Many Central Virginians – including teachers, first responders, and public employees – are negatively impacted by these outdated provisions that unfairly reduce the Social Security benefits they’ve earned,” said Spanberger. “The Social Security Fairness Act makes sure educators, firefighters, and law enforcement professionals are able to enjoy the secure retirement they deserve. I’d like to thank Congressman Davis for his partnership on this bipartisan bill – and I urge my colleagues to recognize the need to provide financial certainty to public sector employees amid the COVID-19 crisis.”

“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.”

“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 Ken Thomas, National President, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE).

“Educators who dedicate their lives to ensuring all students — no matter who they are, where they come from or where they live — should be able to retire with respect and dignity. The Social Security Fairness Act will ensure that educators and other public servants receive the benefits they have earned. For far too long, educators and other public servants have been wrongly penalized, and this legislation ensures that these noble public servants fully receive the benefits they are due,” said Becky Pringle, President National Education Association. “The National Education Association, which represents 3 million educators, healthcare workers and public employees, is pleased to support this important bipartisan legislation.” – National Education Association President Becky Pringle

The Social Security Fairness Act is also endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which represents more than 356,000 law enforcement officers. FOP National President Patrick Yoes wrote a letter of support for the Social Security Fairness Act. Click here to read his full letter sent to Spanberger and Davis.

Click here to read the full bill text.

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