IAFF Advocates for Social Security Fairness Act to Repeal WEP and GPO

December 4, 2023

Efforts to repeal WEP and GPO intensify

General President Edward Kelly and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) are intensifying their campaign to urge Congress to pass the Social Security Fairness Act.

This critical legislation aims to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO), which have significantly diminished Social Security benefits for numerous public servants, including many IAFF members.

Bipartisan support grows for Social Security Fairness Act

The Social Security Fairness Act has gained significant bipartisan support in Congress.

A field hearing by the U.S.

House Ways and Means Committee underscored the urgency of this issue.

General President Kelly highlighted the plight of many IAFF members and other public employees who often undertake additional jobs, contributing to Social Security to make ends meet.

Kelly criticized the current system, stating that it unfairly penalizes public employees, including teachers, police officers, and firefighters, who have diligently paid into Social Security.

Legislative progress and advocacy efforts

The Act now boasts over 300 cosponsors in the House and 49 in the Senate.

This widespread support led to a field hearing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where House lawmakers emphasized the need to understand the issue from those directly affected by WEP and GPO.

Following the hearing, key sponsors in the House, Representatives Garrett Graves and Abigail Spanberger, issued a joint statement urging the Committee to take final steps to bring the legislation to the House floor for a vote.

IAFF’s sustained campaign against unfair benefit cuts

Despite most IAFF members not paying into Social Security due to pension earnings, many qualify for benefits through secondary jobs or spousal benefits.

Historically, WEP and GPO have reduced these benefits, a situation the IAFF seeks to rectify.

Resolution 27, adopted at the 2022 IAFF Convention, called for collaboration with stakeholders to champion federal legislation eliminating these Social Security offsets.

Continued fight for fairness in Social Security

The IAFF, along with the National WEP and GPO Repeal Task Force, has been actively working to uphold the provisions of Resolution 27.

A summit on Capitol Hill saw the participation of General President Kelly and other union leaders, where they strongly advocated for fair treatment of members in Social Security matters.

Kelly’s statement at the summit encapsulated the sentiment: “We pay into social security, but don’t get out of it what we put into it.

That’s just plain wrong.”

FSJA Comment

The ongoing efforts by the IAFF to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) represent a significant movement in the realm of public service and social security legislation.

The bipartisan support for the Social Security Fairness Act underscores the widespread acknowledgment of the unfairness embedded in the current system.

By potentially altering the landscape of Social Security benefits for millions of public servants, this legislative push signifies a pivotal shift towards rectifying long-standing issues in the public sector’s financial well-being.

The IAFF’s persistent advocacy and collaboration with various stakeholders reflect a deep commitment to ensuring fair treatment and equity for all members, particularly as they approach retirement.

This movement not only addresses immediate financial concerns but also sets a precedent for future policies impacting public employees, marking a crucial step in balancing the scales of social security benefits.

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