Social Security’s Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) penalize educators, police officers, and other state and local government employees who dedicate their lives to public service.
The WEP affects 1.9 million people while the GPO affects 695,000 people, according to the Congressional Research Service.
- The WEP reduces the Social Security retirement, disability, spousal, or survivor benefits of people who work in jobs in which they pay Social Security taxes and jobs in which they do NOT pay Social Security taxes—for example, educators who take part-time or summer jobs to make ends meet.
- The GPO reduces the Social Security spousal or survivor benefits of people who get a government pension (federal, state or local) but did NOT pay Social Security taxes themselves. Two-thirds of the government pension is deducted from the Social Security benefit. For example, if your monthly government pension is $600, your Social Security spousal or survivor benefit is reduced by $400. If two-thirds of your government pension is more than your Social Security benefit, you could lose your entire Social Security benefit.
- These offsets 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.
- 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.