March 2, 2023

Cassidy, Brown, Colleagues Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Get Public Employees Fill Social Security Benefits

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to ensure public sector workers and their families can receive full Social Security benefits after two unfair penalties against them. The Social Security Fairness Act would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) from the Social Security Act, which reduced benefits for nearly 3 million Americans, many of whom are teachers, police officers, and state and local government workers.

“Firefighters and teachers deserve the full Social Security benefits they’ve earned,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This bill repeals unfair penalties against public employees to make sure they get what they worked for.”

“These Ohioans worked their whole lives teaching our children and keeping our communities safe – there’s no reason law enforcement officers and teachers shouldn’t be able to retire with their full Social Security benefits,” said Senator Brown. “Social Security is one of the bedrocks of economic security in this country, and everyone should be able to share in the benefits. This small fix will help these families have the peace of mind that their Social Security benefits will be there for them when they retire from a life of dedicated service to our communities.”

“Public servants from across the country have dedicated their professional careers to the service of their country, yet many face reduced retirement benefits due to the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset,” said Senator Collins. “I held the first Senate oversight hearing on this issue and have continuously worked to correct it. This important, bipartisan bill would eliminate these unfair provisions that have enormous financial implications for many public service employees, such as retired teachers and police officers. It would also give current public sector employees the peace of mind to know that they will be able to receive their full Social Security benefits when they reach retirement age.”

WEP was enacted in 1983 and reduces the Social Security benefits of workers who receive pensions from a federal, state, or local government for employment not covered by Social Security. GPO was enacted in 1977 and reduces Social Security spousal benefits for spouses, widows, and widowers whose spouses receive pensions from a federal, state, or local government. Together, these provisions reduce Social Security benefits for nearly 3 million Americans – including many teachers and police officers.

The Social Security Fairness Act would repeal both WEP and GPO, ensuring public sector workers and their families receive their full Social Security benefits.

Cassidy and Brown were joined by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Angus King (I-ME), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in introducing the bill.