(December 2, 2019) At its most recent board meeting on November 26th, the PERI Board of Trustees voted to support Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) repeal legislation currently in Congress.
Specifically, HR 141 introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Rodney Davis (IL) and a companion bill in the U.S. Senate, S 521, sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH), call for a full repeal of these restrictions passed by Congress more than 35 years ago.
PERI has sent letters to members of Ohio’s Congressional delegation who have yet to co-sponsor or lend their support for these bills.
Specifically, there are many OPERS’ retirees who at some point in their work life, may have worked in the private sector long enough to be eligible for a Social Security benefit in addition to their OPERS retirement benefits earned through public sector employment.
In the 1980’s, Congress passed the WEP provision to offset a perceived financial “windfall” public sector retirees would enjoy since they could potentially have benefits coming from two separate retirement plans. The legislation severely limits the amount of Social Security benefit a person in such a situation can earn despite the fact they and their private sector employer may have paid an amount similar to a Social Security retiree without a public pension. This disparity is unfair since the Social Security benefit was earned, as was their public pension benefit.
PERI believes “WEP”, as well as the Government Pension Offset “GPO”, which penalizes the amount of Social Security benefit a spouse, widow or widower can receive by two-thirds of the amount of the primary spouse’s government pension, are patently unfair and require repeal.
Nine of Ohio’s House members currently support repeal and have co-sponsored HR 141. Those who have yet to do so include Rep’s. Chabot, Wenstrup, Davidson, Jordan, Johnson, Gonzalez and Latta. Senator Rob Portman has not co-sponsored S 521.
All of these members of Ohio’s Congressional delegation have received our letter requesting action on their part to both co-sponsor legislation and contribute their efforts to support passage this session.