What are the WEP and GPO Provisions?
The Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) penalize people who have dedicated their lives to public service, including many teachers, firefighters, police officers and other municipal workers, as well as foreign pensioners (legal immigrants in the United States and Americans abroad) by taking away benefits that they, or their spouses, have EARNED. These provisions are grossly unfair and rob retirees of thousands of dollars they have rightfully earned each month. Furthermore, most public employees currently working (and paying into Social Security from other employment) who will be affected by these provisions are not even aware of the penalties they and/or their spouses will incur once they apply for their earned benefits. WEP and GPO steal earned benefits from more than 2 million retired public employees and this number will continue to grow if this situation is not corrected.
Government Pension Offset (GPO)
If you are a public employee married to someone who is earning Social Security, you will probably lose all Social Security spousal or survivor retirement benefits rightfully earned from FICA taxes paid by your spouse during the marriage.
Windfall Elimination Program (WEP)
An amount up to half the value of your non-covered pension can be cut from the Social Security benefit which you have earned from other employment in which you paid the required FICA taxes.
Who is Affected:
o People who have worked in jobs in which they paid into SS and also worked in jobs not covered by SS may be affected.
o Professions that are being penalized include teachers, police, firefighters, postal workers, air traffic controllers, customs agents, federal government employees, and state and local municipal workers. Also, those working for a company in a foreign country may be negatively affected.
o People who have worked in jobs not covered by SS, and who have spouses that have paid into SS may be denied SS spousal or widowed benefits.
o Over 2 million retirees are currently being denied benefits by the WEP.
o Over 700,000 retirees are currently being denied benefits by the GPO.
o Over 6.5 million people soon to retire will also be negatively impacted.
o The current law makes it increasingly difficult for states to fill positions in these essential fields.
Two Bills have been introduced in Congress that would repeal both the WEP and GPO:
The links below will take you to the bills currently going through Congress. There's a House bill and a Senate version. New co-signers are being added to both bills each week. You can follow these links to see the progress of the bills in each chamber. Progress is being made, but your help is needed to get this done!
· HR 82 - Introduced by Representative Garret Graves, (R-LA) on 01/09/2023 and has been referred to the House Committee on Ways & Means. This bill has been supported by Representatives More information can be found at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/house-bill/82.
· S597 – Introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) on 03/01/2023 and referred to the Committee on Finance. For more information: https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/senate-bill/597
In May, 2023, a separate bill was introduced by Rep. John Larson (D-CT) – Social Security 2100. This bill would also repeal WEP and GPO. For more information, go to: https://larson.house.gov/issues/social-security-2100-sacred-trust)
Ways that you can connect and support the passage of these bills:
· Get educated.
You can learn more about GPO & WEP at https://ssfairness.org/. Join the mailing list at the site.
You can also follow the national movement on Facebook
· Contact your congressional representatives and ask for their support. If they have already co-signed one of these bills, please thank them! Every email, postcard, and phone call matters.
· Call friends and family in other states and ask them to contact their congressional representatives to request their support. Remember, retirees in all states are impacted. If you are not affected, you probably know someone who is.
· Save the Date: WEP/GPO REPEAL Advocacy Summit is being planned for September 13, 2023 in Washington DC. All are welcome! Watch for details to follow on this site or one of the sites listed above.