Equality and fairness are some of America’s most cherished ideals. In current Social Security law, over 2.5 million retired first responders, teachers, and other government employees are financially penalized by provisions of the law, the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset, that slash their benefits solely because they spent part of their careers in jobs that don’t pay into the Social Security System.
On this episode of the Blue View Podcast, National FOP President Patrick Yoes sits down with Representative Abigail Spanberger, who currently represents Virginia’s 7th Congressional district. A former law enforcement officer herself, Congresswoman Spanberger is the lead Democratic sponsor of the FOP’s top legislative priority: the Social Security Fairness Act.
The Social Security Fairness Act, which has been one of the most bipartisan and broadly supported pieces of legislation in the House under both Democratic and Republican control, would fully repeal both the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) in current Social Security law. The bill, which currently has over 150 cosponsors, is a top priority of the FOP.
The WEP affects workers who spent some time in jobs not covered by Social Security and also worked other jobs where they paid Social Security taxes long enough to qualify for retirement benefits. The provision has a disproportionate effect on law enforcement officers who retire earlier than most other public employees and are more likely to begin a second career after they leave law enforcement. Officers in this position are penalized and may have their Social Security benefit reduced by up to sixty percent (60%).
Like the WEP, the Government Pension Offset (GPO) was adopted to shore up the finances of the Social Security trust fund. It offsets the Social Security benefit to which a surviving spouse is entitled by two-thirds of the monthly amount of any government pension that they might receive.