Urgent: Demand WEP/GPO Repeal Vote Now!

Rodney Davis and Abigail Spanberger, original sponsor’s of HOUSE WEP/GPO REPEAL BILL, H.R. 82, ARE ASKING HOUSE LEADERSHIP TO BRING THE BILL TO THE FLOOR FOR A VOTE NOW!

We need to back up our sponsors, Davis and Spanberger, by bombarding the House decision-makers’ offices with demands for action.

  • You can call any Member of the House using a number from this easy list:  https://www.house.gov/representatives  
  • Or check their office website at:  https://www.house.gov for a contact page.
  • Call and/or email them a copy of the letter below, which Rodney Davis and Abigail Spanberger sent to House Leaders. 
  • Call your Congressperson’s home office, too, and talk to their legislative aide. 

We need to reach out to the House leadership first. Make sure your own Member of Congress sees this same letter below. Thank you!

This letter was sent to these leaders:

  • The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, (415) 556-4862
    Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515
  • The Honorable Richard Neal, (202) 225-5601
    Chairman, U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means Washington, D.C. 20515
  • The Honorable Kevin McCarthy, (202) 225-2915
    Minority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515
  • The Honorable Kevin Brady, (202) 225-4901
    Ranking Member, U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means Washington, D.C. 20515

February 15, 2022

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Chairman Neal, and Ranking Member Brady:

We write to urge you to discharge H.R. 82, the Social Security Fairness Act, from the Ways and Means Committee and bring it to the House floor for a vote as soon as possible. Passing the Social Security Fairness Act will immediately benefit millions of retired police officers, federal employees, first responders, and other public servants. H.R. 82 has significant bipartisan support – of the more than 7,700 bills introduced this Congress, only 18 have more co-sponsors – and it’s time for the House to vote.

The Social Security Fairness Act would remove both the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) from the Social Security Act. The WEP and the GPO have substantially reduced more than 2 million retired public sector employees’ Social Security benefits, affecting about 4 percent of all Social Security beneficiaries. In 2020 the WEP reduced benefits for 48,697 Virginians and 99,640 Illinoisians1 and the GPO reduced benefits for 7,849 Virginians and 48,046 Illinoisians.2

When Congress passed the provisions in 1983, it intended to remove a “windfall” for retirees who spent time in jobs not covered by Social Security and also worked in other jobs where they did pay Social Security taxes. In practice, the two provisions dramatically reduce the benefit of low-paid public employees and create an inequity for those public sector employees who also spent time in jobs covered by Social Security.

1 CRS “Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision.” Update November 16, 2021. Available at: https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/98-35.pdf.

2 CRS, “Social Security: The Government Pension Offset.” Updated February 8, 2021. Available at: https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/RL32453.pdf.

Worse still, the WEP and GPO use arbitrary and regressive formulas to calculate their reductions to a retiree’s benefits. The WEP reduces benefits for a retired worker with a public service pension by as much as $498 per month in 2021. Since the WEP formula applies to the first bracket of the Social Security wage replacement formula, it causes a relatively large reduction in benefits to lower-paid workers. The GPO reduces Social Security benefits for spouses or survivors who also earned a pension by up to two-thirds of their monthly pension benefits. The decision to reduce spousal benefits by two-thirds was not based on any analysis, but an arbitrary amount decided in conference between the two chambers in 1983.

Bipartisan legislation to repeal the WEP and the GPO has been introduced in every Congress since at least 2001. Nearly 40 years after Congress passed these provisions, the 117th Congress should be the one to finally fix this long-standing inequity and protect the benefits of individuals who made careers out of public service by voting on and passing the Social Security Fairness Act.

Sincerely,

Abigail D. Spanberger, Member of Congress
Rodney Davis, Member of Congress

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38 Comments

  1. The deduction is now $512 for 2022. After the increase of 5.99% cola for 2022 and the increase of Medicare part b my big SS increase was $3.00 Per month.Really?
    You can’t even buy a cup of coffee with that. This is shameful how our country treats our public servants.

  2. After the phrase “….it causes a relatively large reduction in benefits to lower-paid workers.” another sentence could be added. “In addition, other amounts over the $498 “limit” could also be deducted, as explained on the Social Security website, if the worker took his/her non-Social Security pension at an age beyond 62 or if they waited and took their Social Security at age 70.”

    1. Do you have the URL or part of the SS site where you pulled this quote from. I only waited till 70 to collect SS BECAUSE I was getting less because of the WEP! They took more because I waited? That adds insult to injury!

  3. While both houses of Congress are ringing their hands trying to get bipartisan support for something, here it is. And here it has been for a long time. Just put it to a vote. After 40 years we’re still waiting? That’s shameful. Every member of the House Ways and Means should be screaming to put it to a vote. But, alas, they don’t need the couple of bucks we do to pay the bills and just live. Maybe we’ll see a return of poorhouses, where old public servants go to die. Shameful.

  4. After teaching in public elementary schools for 21 years and retiring at the age of 74, my pension is not enough to support my basic needs. Before I became a teacher (at the age of 53) I worked for years in the private sector and paid into Social Security. Little did I know that I would lose a substantial portion of the Social Security benefits I had earned, just because I became a public servant in response to a teacher shortage. These unfair laws force many retired teachers like me, and other public servants, to struggle to make ends meet. It will also deprive my husband (another retired public servant) and me of Social Security benefits we would normally have received when one or the other of us passes away. This isn’t humane and it isn’t just. Please do the right thing and let public servants receive the full amount of any Social Security benefits we may have earned in addition to our pension benefits. We worked hard all our lives, and we served our country. We deserve better treatment.
    Thank you.

  5. I purposely waited until age 70 in 2014 to take my allowed maximum social security benefit after an earlier retirement as an underpaid Kentucky public high school teacher for 27 years. Since 2014, these specific laws have reduced my benefit by $500+ annually ($4,000+ totally to date). I was shocked when the SS counselor told me my
    “then “ benefit amount and the reason for it! This is morally wrong on any level of common sense and decency. After the substantial 2022 increase in my Medicare Part B premium & COLA, my net monthly increase is $30…a tankful of gas at inflated prices. Why cannot this travesty of justice not be appealing as a win-win bipartisan solution for all concerned? Meanwhile, all affected by these laws have no way out. If I were your father or grandfather, this inequity would already be solved. PLEASE do the right thing…ASAP!

  6. I would love to see H.R. 82 finally go to a vote in congress, and I’m optimistic that it would pass there. But then it still has to be voted on by Senate, and I’m much less optimistic about that. I’m hoping we can convince another dozen Senators to support this long-overdue legislative change. It’s going to take a concerted effort to get that done. Fortunately, we know our Vice President would cast the tie-breaking vote and our President would sign the bill… if we can get it that far.

    1. You this the Vice President and president would sign the Bill? Then how come president hasn’t made an executive order to get rid of it?

  7. It says that the WEP was enacted by Congress to “Eliminate” a “Perceived
    Unintended Windfall” for certain beneficiaries. Years worked in noncovered
    employment are treated as years of Zero earnings for purposes of calculating
    Social Security benefits. Definition of Windfall is: an unexpected, unearned, or
    sudden gain or advantage.
    So basically what they are saying is that the years you did work under Social
    Security were unearned, and because we didn’t earn them we have gained the
    advantage, What! There is no advantage that I can see. I am affected by the
    WEP, and this law is so unfair, it should be repealed and STOP the steal of over
    2 million people in this country.
    How is it that you work to get your 40 quarters, which I have; and then to find out
    that 2/3 is gone with the wind, simply vanishes. People that are retired under a
    civilian job and paid into Social Security, may receive a pension from that job and
    a pension under Social Security, plus; their spouse who may have never worked
    also get a check from Social Security. So there is the windfall, the unearned or
    sudden gain or advantage, where is the advantage for people under WEP and
    GPO?
    This law should never have been passed and should be repealed so to give all
    those affected by WEP and GPO what we have earned, not unearned; all we
    want is what we worked for, no more, and certainly not LESS.

  8. In 40 years how many retirees and/or (ex)spouses or survivors have died waiting for this bill to come up for a vote? It would be nice to live our last years with a little dignity. Some may have no family to turn to or perhaps assist other family members in need (raising grandkids, disabled children, etc).

    The pandemic has affected our entire country, passing HR 82 could make a huge difference by “paying it forward” to those already retired from public service to their community and country. It should be mentioned that only 15 states have NOT already repealed the WEP/GPO. Virginia and Illinois are just two. There are millions waiting for Congress to right this shameful wrong!

    I’m 76 and $420/month would buy food and electricity. I don’t even have cable TV or a computer. To be honest, my hope is running low. But I still pray .

  9. I worked half of my teaching career in private and half in public due to Proposition 2 1/2 in MA.
    So, I receive half of my public school retirement and no retirement from private school. If my husband dies before me, I will not receive the spousal benefit which would drastically reduce my income.

  10. We are a huge group of voters. If we simply say we will not vote for those who oppose, it should make them stand up and notice. I am a widow and am in education. I am 73 years old and still working because I can draw my husband’s social security while I am working. I can’t quit because it is an absolute necessity to have that social security. My husband earned it and he worked for over 60 years and did not even come close to receiving what he paid in to Social Security. How much longer is this going to go on. I am still in good health but at my age you never know what can happen.
    I implore you to do the right thing for the hard working group of people that should be able to receive what is right and just.

  11. I certainly commend those who are trying to get this to a vote and are thankful to them. However recent politics is not encouraging and I am afraid that there are too many Republican Congressman and Senators that believe this is some kind of liberal giveaway. This is about fairness to everyone who has contributed to Social Security . This Windfall was wrong 40 years ago and it is wrong today.

  12. Parents are screaming to keep their children in school. During the pandemic, we were considered to be essential to keeping our children grounded and educated. Please respect teachers and public workers who give their all to their communities by JUST GIVING US OUR FAIR AND PAID FOR SHARE.

  13. I am a retired civil servant, who husband died recently. I have had to go back to work part time at 63 to make ends meet since My household income was slashed in half since my husband death. Please bring hr 82 for a vote.

  14. These articles appear every so often raising the hopes of all workers who are unjustly penalized by the WEP and the GPO.

    Truth be told, repealing these acts will never happen. The government has made millions off of public workers, who also had to pay into a pension fund at their work.

    I have made phone calls and written letters to my Congress representatives for years. I always get the response, “We’ll look into it”.

    Congress has done nothing and will continue to do nothing. The money they have made off of us is gone and will remain gone. With today’s economy and national debt, this injustice will continue.

  15. I was promised a $1600 a month benefit instead I received $420! NOT FAIR! Repeal those two laws!

  16. After I pay for Medicare, I am left with $203.00. I want to thank all responsible for my nice raise which went to Medicare. In 2005 I retired with a social security check coming to me of $203.00. In almost 17 years I am still getting $203.00. What a joke!!

  17. My story is similar….I worked through high school and college in a family business while earning my teaching credential….then went back to get a Master’s while I had three young kids and was teaching. I earned enough credits to be eligible for SS ( and paid in hard-earned money to do so) ! My husband had a very hard-earned SS as well. When he died two years ago after 40 years of marriage, I lost both my and his SS at his last heartbeat…….what a double blow ! SS then made me pay back part of his last month’s $2800 as he died on the 11th of the month ! Can you imagine in my grief having to pay them back after they ripped it away ? As a CA teacher, we are trapped in the cruel WEP/GPO. WE gave so much as teachers…..to have this final blow to our latter years. I am now substitute teacher at age 77 to make ends meet ! REPEAL NOW.

  18. How come so many other states have the Social Security Fairness, which includes ALL Social Security employment, including breaks in non Social Security time, and Ohio does NOT! Get us the FAIRNESS that we rightly deserve, including previous years when we should have had the additional monies at retirement. I had more than 30 years of the total Social Security amount, but it was not CONSECUTIVE years. How stupid and unfair is that?

  19. Is there ANYBODY who knows of a friend or relative in South Dakota? Please tell them to call their congressional member Honorable Dusty Johnson, and the legislative staffer WILL pass the message of support to the congressional member for consideration to add his name as a co-sponsor. Please help if you know someone. I will be asking my relative in North Dakota for that member of congress to add his name as a co-sponsor. Thank you.

    Charles

  20. Congress has done nothing and I suspect will continue to do nothing. It’s shameful hard working public servants and their spouses continue to suffer due to the very unfair WEP and GPO. I’m a 52 year old retired Arkansas police officer and currently work as a police officer at a local small medical college and pay into social security, and have paid into social security for several years in other miscellaneous jobs. I know when it’s my time to receive social security in approximately 10 to 15 years, I’ll be penalized a great deal and will only receive a fraction of my posted benefit. This unfair WEP and GPO needs repealed but I have no faith in our congress to achieve this very important goal. It breaks my heart to hear of people in their golden years of life needing to go back to work just to make ends meet due to this very unfair WEP and GPO. REPEAL!!

  21. God bless you BOTH for introducing this bill !!! LONG OVER DUE!!!! THANK YOU SO SO MUCH!!!

  22. I worked for 54 years, raised 2 children and retired at 72. I had 21 qualifying years in social security, some early years I did not make enough money to qualify due to the lower pay for women. I am lucky to have a pension after 28 years in education, but frankly no “windfall”. As the cost of living keeps going up, I too will be looking to find some type of employment to keep myself above water.

    Christine

  23. Hello Folks: Big mouth Donna here, again. Folks, my recommendation is for y’all (LOL) to email Governor Newsom and ask him to ask Nancy Pelosi to PLEASE endorse the “discharge petition” request from Ms. Stanberger and Mr. Davis.

    Governor Newsom IS Nancy Pelosi’s nephew, in case you folks didn’t know that. Try emailing Newsom like I did and ask him if he can lend his support to Mr. Pelosi to endorse the “discharge petition” request addressed by Stanberger and Davis.

  24. So for an ironic twist When I turned 67 I was able to teach and collect my full social security even though I made a lot more money than I do with my pension I did that for 3 years When I retired I knew they would cut my benefits To add insult to injury ss won’t do that until
    They have your benefits award letter which I didn’t get from Ct trb until December I now owe ss a lot of money bc I retired I June That is being deducted monthly as well

  25. I was a teacher in Connecticut. It’s ironic that when I turned 67 I was able to teach and collect my full social security benefit even though I was making a nice chunk of change. Now that I am retired and making much less, I can’t collect my full social security because I make too much money. In addition, social security doesn’t start deducting money for the pension offset until you can send them your pension award letter. The CT TRB doesn’t send that until December. Social Security wants to start deducting as of July. To make a long story short, I wound up owing them a fair amount, which is now being deducted from my paltry Social Security benefit. How is that fair? These laws need to be repealed. This has taken too long.

  26. My husband passed in 2015 I worked for government 34 years and I do not get none of my husband social security. Just not fair he and paid into ss. Please pass this bill.

  27. The fact that the WEP/GPO was enacted at all is criminal. Basically, robbing me of my earned Social Security benefits.
    It will say a lot about our government if they don’t repeal both of them this year!

  28. PLEASE VOTE ON THIS NOW!!! It is so unfair and discriminatory. I agree with all the previous statements posted. Also, not mentioned is that my pension is taxed as regular income!! THIS IS BIPARTISAN!!!! Get something done!!

  29. The repeal of these blatantly unfair provisions is long overdue. I’ve sent the letter on to my Congressman once again, and once again I’m not optimistic. Our dysfunctional federal government is made up of super wealthy, highly partisan “representatives” who are much more concerned with serving their party, getting themselves re-elected, and serving their wealthy/corporate sponsors than doing anything to help their constituents. Love my country – disgusted by my government.

  30. Who exactly is holding this up and why? This is ridiculous. It needs to be on the floor of both houses of Congress and passed. I could use the extra $120 a month that has been stolen from me just because I worked three-and-a-half years in public employment in Nevada that is penalized with the WEP (I have my full five years vesting, but I worked full time in SS-covered employment to offset the part time public service job that didn’t pay into SS).

  31. there is pessimism and little optimism in the comments above, and with good reason. despite this the oppositional voice has grown and become louder, this is hopeful. I have little faith in the self-interested actors in congress. those with integrity are few.
    I am hopeful, but at a loss of how to grow opposition to wep and gpo. it seems the correct time to put this issue up front in the next elections though.

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