March 03, 2023

Duckworth Joins Brown and Collins in Reintroducing Bipartisan Legislation to Get Public Employees Full Social Security Benefit


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in reintroducing 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 those statutes significantly reduced benefits for nearly 3 million Americans, many of whom are teachers, police officers and state, county and local government workers.

“Millions of Americans have worked their entire lives, paying into Social Security paycheck after paycheck,” said Duckworth. “It’s a well-earned benefit and we must recommit ourselves to building on and protecting it for the folks who teach our children, protect our communities and keep our towns and cities running. I’m proud to support the Social Security Fairness Act.

“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 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 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.”

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 3 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.

Along with Duckworth, Brown and Collins, U.S. Senators 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), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are cosponsors of the legislation.