The bill, which is the exact in likeness to legislation introduced in the House (H.R. 82) in January by Reps. Garret Graves (R-LA) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), seeks to repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). The GPO and WEP are parts of Social Security law that unfairly reduce or sometimes eliminate Social Security benefits for millions of federal annuitants, including former Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) letter carriers.
To start, lets take a look at what the NALC’s (National Association of Letter Carriers) fact sheet shares about the WEP and FERS:
Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)
The WEP (enacted in 1982) reduces the Social Security benefits
of retired public employees (federal, state and local) who also
worked in Social Security-covered private sector employment—if
they receive a government annuity for their non-Social Security
covered government employment. This provision hits CSRS
retirees directly (but not FERS retirees). In all, nearly two million
Americans have been adversely affected by the WEP provision—
a number that will grow as more CSRS employees retire.
The WEP affects the determination of a new retiree’s monthly
Social Security benefit (the Primary Insurance Amount)—which
involves a three-part calculation applied to a worker’s Average
Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) from Social Security covered
employment. A worker’s top 35 years of earnings are indexed to
wage inflation to express earnings from years ago in today’s
dollars and then converted into a monthly average—or AIME. In
2023, the first $1,115 of a worker’s AIME is multiplied by 90%, an
AIME between $1,115 and $6,721 is multiplied by 32% and then
any AIME more than $6,721 is multiplied by 15%. This formula
insures that lower-income workers get a higher relative benefit.
That’s how the calculation works for private sector workers and/or
FERS workers (whose federal service is covered by Social
To read the entire fact sheet, click here.
WEP shrinks earned Social Security benefits for CSRS employees and for Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) employees, who additionally receive a public pension from another job not covered by Social Security. Also, WEP affects employees who switch from a job in which they earn Social Security to a job that does not earn the Social Security benefit.
GPO affects CSRS employees and spousal benefits of people who work as federal, state or local government employees if the job is not covered by Social Security. Today, GPO reduces by two-thirds the benefit received by surviving spouses who also collect a government pension.
Currently, the legislation has 31 bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate. Despite consistent bipartisan support in the House and the Senate, the legislation has been tough to move forward due to the amount of money it requires. In a statement, the NALC said its organization is “committed to working on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate to gain support for the Social Security Fairness Act so letter carriers can receive the full benefits they earned.”
In order to learn more about changes in the federal workforce and follow this bill, or to receive TSP fund recommendations from our trained and licensed team, become a member at Federal Benefits Service today.