Davis-sponsored measure would update Social Security Act benefits

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) on Jan. 3 introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure more fairness for Social Security benefit payments.

The Social Security Fairness Act, H.R. 141, would end two Social Security Act titles that Rep. Davis said unfairly reduce or eliminate Social Security benefits for millions of Americans.

“This bill ensures that a teacher who spends his or her summers working a second job or a police officer who changes careers after years of service will not face a possible 40 percent reduction in their Social Security benefits,” Rep. Davis said.

According to information recently released by the congressman’s office, H.R. 142 would eliminate both the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) titles of the Social Security Act.

The WEP reduces the earned Social Security benefits of a person who also receives a public pension from a job not covered by Social Security, according to the statement, while the GPO impacts the spousal benefits of federal, state or local government employees if their job isn’t covered by Social Security.

For example, the WEP affects employees who move from a job in which they earn Social Security to a job like teaching, in which they don’t earn Social Security benefits, the statement says, while the GPO reduces by two-thirds the benefit a surviving spouse receives who also collects a government pension.

“By repealing these outdated provisions that unfairly penalize public servants in Illinois, we can provide some certainty to retirees while helping to recruit future teachers, firefighters and police officers,” said Rep. Davis.

Nineteen original cosponsors joined Rep. Davis in introducing H.R. 141, including U.S. Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Dave Joyce (R-OH), and lead Democrat U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI).
Kathi Griffin, president of the Illinois Education Association, called the WEP and GPO “outdated provisions.”

“I thank Representative Davis for his leadership on this issue and for his support of educators throughout Illinois and across the nation,” she added.

H.R. 142 has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee.