WASHINGTON – Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04) co-sponsored the Social Security Fairness Act, 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, 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.
“From teachers and librarians to police officers and firefighters, public servants in Utah and across the nation have devoted their careers to helping others,” said Rep. Owens. “I’ve heard from constituent after constituent that unfair, bureaucratic WEP and GPO provisions have slashed their hard-earned retirement benefits. I’m proud to support the bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act to eliminate these senseless penalties and help our public employees receive the full benefits they’ve earned.”
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 full text of the legislation is available here.