The Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) discourage people from becoming educators, especially those in mid-career who stand to lose Social Security benefits they have already earned.
That, in turn, can adversely affect the quality of the education our students receive.
More than 2.5 million hard-working Americans, including many educators, have their Social Security benefits reduced—or lose them entirely—due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO).
The WEP reduces the Social Security benefits of people who work in jobs covered by Social Security and jobs NOT covered by Social Security over the course of their careers—for example, educators compelled to take part-time or summer jobs to make ends meet. Some people receiving foreign pensions are also subject to the WEP.
The GPO reduces—or eliminates—the Social Security spousal or survivor benefits of people who also get a pension based on federal, state, or local government employment NOT covered by Social Security. Two-thirds of the pension amount is deducted from the Social Security benefit—for someone getting a $1,500 pension, for example, the Social Security benefit is lowered by $1,000. More than 70 percent of those affected by the GPO lose their entire spousal or survivor benefit.
The bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act (S. 1302/H.R. 82), introduced by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Rodney Davis (R-IL), would fully repeal both the GPO and WEP.
The Social Security 2100 Act (S. 3071/H.R.5723), introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. John Larson (D-CT), would fully repeal both the GPO and WEP, expand and strengthen benefits, and ensure that wealthier Americans pay their fair share.
The Safeguarding American Families and Expanding Social Security Act (S. 3070), introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), phases out the payroll tax cap, increases benefits, and updates the formula for calculating the annual cost-of-living adjustment.
The Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act (H.R. 2337), introduced by Rep. Richie Neal (D-MA), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, starts to fix problems caused by the WEP, but does address the GPO. NEA continues to advocate for full repeal of both the GPO and WEP.
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