The Social Security Fairness Act EXPLAINED! (SSI, SSDI)

The Social Security Fairness Act would eliminate both the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset. And according to a press release from Spanberger and Davis, these two provisions of the Social Security Act would essentially reduce or eliminate Social Security benefits for first responders. The bill, which was introduced last year, has now garnered more than 250 sponsors across both parties. In a letter sent to congressional leadership, Spanberger and Davis called for a vote on their bill as soon as humanly possible. Spanberger and Davis state that “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 cosponsors — and it’s time for the House to vote”.

According to the release, the push from Spanberger and Davis is supported by several organizations that represent police officers, firefighters and other public sector employees. In fact, Patrick Yoes, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said in a statement that “The Social Security Fairness Act really is about fairness. Fairness to public employees who served their communities and happen to be working for local governments that chose decades ago to construct a retirement system separate from the Social Security Act, but earned a Social Security benefit through other work. This particularly impacts police officers, who retire earlier than other government employees and begin second careers which require them to pay into the Social Security system. No one should be penalized because of their public service”. According to the release, the Windfall Elimination Provision currently reduces the earned Social Security benefits of someone who also receives a public pension from a job not covered by Social Security.

On the other hand, Democratic Representative Richard Neal of Massachusetts, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has backed a different piece of legislation, the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act. However, this bill would not entirely eliminate the Windfall Elimination Provision. A Forbes op-ed published in late 2020 urged President Joe Biden to reform the windfall elimination provision. During his campaign, a plan released by Biden proposed eliminating the Windfall Elimination Provision, but the White House has since barely addressed the issue during Biden’s presidency. In addition, the current version of the Social Security 2100 Act: A Sacred Trust would repeal both the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset, even though such repeals were not part of the versions of that bill introduced in past years. The authors of the letter noted that a version of the bill to get rid of the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset has been introduced in every Congress since 2001. According to the Federal News Network, the Windfall Elimination Provision is a “complicated relic” of the 1983 Social Security reform legislation which affects about 1.9 million people around the country who receive an annuity from their government work, but also collected Social Security due to separate private sector work

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