Graves, Spanberger leading charge to repeal WEP, GPO

After a bill that would repeal a pair of programs that negatively affect social security benefits for government employees in Louisiana and their spouses did not pass during the previous Congress, it was reintroduced in the 2023 Congress.

U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (LA) and U.S. Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (VA) are leading the bipartisan national effort to fix the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO).

These two 1980s-era flawed federal laws can result in massive cuts – including the total elimination – of a retiree’s Social Security payments.

The pair is garnering strong support for H.R. 82- the Social Security Fairness Act, which would fully repeal WEP/GPO. The bill has 128 cosponsors of the 250 cosponsors needed after four weeks. WEP affects two million social security beneficiaries, and GPO impacts 780,000 retirees.

“WEP and GPO only provide a disincentive or penalize thousands of Louisiana’s public servants. Our teachers, police officers, firefighters, emergency responders, and other local and state public servants – and their spouses or survivors – have been wrongly penalized,” Graves wrote in a news release. “We will keep fighting to get them the full retirement benefits they paid for, including those who have already retired. We’re not giving up.”

Graves was a big part of the bill that former Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL) introduced in 2021. That bill passed the co-sponsor threshold but got as far as the union calendar in September 2022.

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) is a formula used to reduce Social Security benefits for individuals who paid into both civil service pensions and Social Security throughout their careers. While the WEP was intended to prevent “windfalls,” in practice, it unfairly penalizes public servants like firefighters, police officers, and teachers by reducing their retirement checks.

The Government Pension Offset (GPO) reduces the spousal-dependent benefits of individuals who did not pay into Social Security themselves by two-thirds of their government pension. In some cases, this results in individuals receiving zero Social Security benefits, even if their spouse paid in their entire working career.

“As a Member of Congress representing thousands of federal employees and retirees, I remain committed to eliminating the WEP and the GPO. Last Congress, we saw massive, bipartisan support for delivering this long overdue peace of mind to public servants in Virginia and across the country,” Spanberger said. “The Social Security Fairness Act recognizes the sacrifices that come with serving our communities, our Commonwealth, and our country. I want to thank Congressman Graves for his continued partnership on this issue — and I am looking forward to finally righting this wrong and making sure America’s federal employees, teachers, police officers, and firefighters receive the retirement security they deserve.”

To read the full list of cosponsors, click here.

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21 Comments on Graves, Spanberger leading charge to repeal WEP, GPO

  1. Thank you, Congressman Graves. I am affected by this law. I appreciate your efforts. Again, thank you for taking actions.

    • I think it’s not understood! My CS time was never in the formulation of my SSA benefits. Why should my SS be reduced by something having no influence of the calculation of SSA check?

  2. I have just sent an email to McCarthy….. I live in Bakersfield Ca. and have messaged him in the past (along with Feinstein who is supportive of ending WEP). As a lifetime Republican, I am ashamed that not all of the 222 members of the house have not cosponsored HR82.

  3. Why is it that adding payments for these earned benefits being paid to us retirees, as so deserved, considered the amount that will push social security over the edge? These benefits due us are no different than benefits being paid to other recipients. We paid them in, just like the others. Our benefits should not be separated from any other due benefits and should not be singled out as the amount that will be over the budget.

  4. Will hr 82 be of benefit to all retirees affected by winfall reduction, my social security was reduced by fifty percent and by windfall I lost another $175.00 to Medicare, bringing my social check,
    That I earned long before I went to work with the state of California to $160.00 from about $600.00 because of windfall. Is hr 82 going to help nation wide, thank you.

  5. Please continue to fight to get my full social security benefits , I could really use my full benefit instead of the half benefit that I’m getting now in this time of high inflation and higher costs for everything. Besides , I paid for full social security benefits when I got paid not half benefits, when I worked a second job for more than twenty years. Keep up the good work and pass this along to other members of Congress. We paid it. We deserve to get what we paid in for in full.

  6. Excellent information! I am a member of National WEP/GPO Repeal Movement and appreciate your efforts so much! REPEAL IN THE 118th CONGRESS!

  7. I am so proud of congressman Graves and Congresswoman Spanberger for standing up for the working class people!!! I am victim of this terrible unfairness to the working class. I worked for 31 years as a nurse. I have paid into social security and into a retirement system. All I did was work hard to make sure I had enough money to take of myself and NOT depend on the Government as I get older!!! Thank you and God Bless.
    Brenda Goode
    Batchelor, La.70715

  8. Thank you for trying to get rid of this WEP Program. It is a penalty to me as a teacher who taught private school for 13 years (over 40 quarters) and also worked in Jefferson parish as a public school teacher. I do receive a pension for 22 years of working. I am NOT double dipping or trying to steal from social security. I contributed to both programs and yet I receive a penalty of having my social security money reduced. It is just not fair since I did contribute to both accounts.
    Thank you for trying to repeal this horrible law.
    Gail Cupit

  9. Both my husband and I are affected by this unfair law. We have waited a long time for a repeal. We have lost so much money since we retired. I feel as if we are still the forgotten citizens. There is money for other countries, for illegals, for immigrants but none for the people who have earned but denied benefits. This is a shame. I hope but doubt this will make it forward. I have lost believe in our legislators voting on anything that does not benefit them. That dangling carrot has work too often to their benefit. I wish you luck in getting this passed but will not hold my breath waiting for it to happen.

  10. Thank you for trying to repeal WEP/GPO however, I have little faith because many in Congress have shown they don’t care. I was hired as a school custodian in 2006, became eligible to participate in a school pension in 2011, retired and received a pension in 2015 and had the WEP deducted in 2008, 7 years before I retired. Financial advisors said they cannot do that but the Social Security/government says “yes we can”.

  11. I am a retired Louisiana State Employee and I’ve contacted my Representatives & Senators on this very issue several times in the past. Please get this pushed through ASAP. President Ronald Reagan got this unfair hardship put upon us in his term in the 80’s and we really should get back pay also. We can never really retire but must keep working somewhere just to make ends meet.

  12. I’m glad that he’s spearheading this, but he also talking with other Republicans about raising the Social Security retirement age to around 70. I mean really! You already have to work until your old, if your even able to draw Social Security (& aren’t penalized for being a public servant). Who wants to work until they’re on their death bed!

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