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Federal Issue Overview

Dec 14, 2022

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) are Federal provisions under U.S. Social Security law.

 

The WEP reduces the Social Security benefit of a worker who also receives a pension for government service that was not subject to Social Security taxes. Under the WEP, a modified benefit formula is used to determine the Social Security benefit amount. The effect on a particular worker depends on several factors, including lifetime earnings and years of Social Security-covered employment.  Additionally, the GPO can reduce survivors’ benefits for spouses, widows, and widowers who receive their own government pensions.

 

Note: Ohio is one of the hardest hit states with around 150,000 Ohioans directly impacted by these Federal Social Security rules.

Can the General Assembly modify or repeal the WEP?
No. Since the WEP is a federal law, the General Assembly is unable to modify or repeal it. 

What is Congress currently doing to address these issues?

Several proposals have been introduced in Congress to either repeal or modify the WEP/GPO.  H.R. 82, the “Social Security Fairness Act of 2021,” which would repeal both the WEP and GPO, was introduced this Congress and gained the bipartisan support of more than 300 congressional representatives, including 10 of Ohio’s 16 current Congressional members.

 

What is the Current Status of Federal H.R. 82?

Due to the substantial bipartisan support, the House Ways & Means Committee reported the bill out of committee without recommendation for passage.  Congress is running out of time to get the legislation across the finish line this year, but Committee leadership committed to identifying a practical solution to address the WEP/GPO without causing insolvency issues in the broader Social Security system.   

 

What has been done in the Ohio Legislature regarding the Federal WEP/GPO effort?

State Representative Phil Plummer, current Chairman of the Ohio Retirement Study Council, recently introduced Ohio H.C.R. 52, a concurrent resolution urging Congress to repeal the Windfall Elimination Program in an effort to give those that pay into Social Security their full benefits upon retirement. 

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