Brown, Collins, Baldwin and Murkowski Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Police Officers, Teachers

Bill Would Ensure Teachers and Police Officers Get Full Social Security Benefits

Today, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced bipartisan legislation that would ensure public sector workers and their families can receive full Social Security benefits after two previous statutes reduced them. The Senators’ bill, the Social Security Fairness Act, would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) from the Social Security Act. Both of the statutes significantly reduce benefits for nearly three million Americans, including 241,755 Ohioans, many of which are teachers, police officers and state, county and local government workers.

“These workers have taught Ohio children and kept Ohio communities safe, and it’s up to us to make sure law enforcement officers and teachers can retire with their full Social Security benefits,” said Senator Brown. “It’s not just about the workers – their families suffer the consequences of reduced benefits, too. This small fix will help these workers and their 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, such as retired teachers and police officers, have dedicated their professional careers to public service, yet many face reduced retirement benefits due to the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision,” 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 federal, state, and local employees.”

“Our social security promises must be kept for our teachers, law enforcement officials and other public servants who’ve devoted their lives to our communities. They deserve the retirement security they’ve worked for throughout their careers,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan effort and fight to make sure that when our public workers complete their service to our communities, they have the full social security benefits that they’ve earned.”

“This commonsense legislation repeals outdated social security law provisions that unfairly reduce or eliminate Social Security benefits that public employees have earned. This bill aims to make the social security program as fair as possible, and will ensure that additional offsets will not occur to our public sector employees' retirement plans. This means that a firefighter or a teacher who has dedicated years of service to Alaska will not see unfair reductions in their benefits for simply choosing a new career path,” said Senator Murkowski. “Public workers deserve to earn the same Social Security benefits as employees in the private sector.”

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), enacted in 1983, reduces the Social Security benefits of workers who receive pensions from a federal, state, or local government for employment not covered by Social Security.

The Government Pension Offset (GPO), enacted in 1977, 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 three million Americans – including many teachers and police officers.

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

The Social Security Fairness Act has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Strengthen Medicare (NCPSSM), Social Security Works, Strengthen Social Security Coalition, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), International Union of Police Association (IUPA), National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), National Education Association (NEA), and the Senior Citizens League.

Related Issues: Education