Rep. Garret Graves leads effort to repeal Windfall Elimination Provision, pension offset

Staff Report

Louisiana U.S. Congressman Garret Graves and Virginia U.S. Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger have been leading the bipartisan national effort to fix the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset.

In a news release, Graves stated the two 1980s-era federal laws can result in massive cuts, including the total elimination of a retiree’s Social Security payments.

U.S. Congressman Garret Graves smiles during his remarks on the Bayou Lafourche pump station project Oct. 21, 2022 in Donaldsonville.

Graves and Spanberger have garnered support for the Social Security Fairness Act, which would fully repeal WEP/GPO. The bill has 128 cosponsors in just four weeks, according to Graves. WEP affects 2 million Social Security beneficiaries, and GPO impacts 780,000 retirees.

“WEP and GPO only provide a disincentive or penalize thousands of Louisiana’s public servants. Our teachers, police officers, firefighters, emergency responders, and other local and state public servants – and their spouses or survivors – have been wrongly penalized. We will keep fighting to get them the full retirement benefits they paid for, including those who have already retired. We’re not giving up,” Graves said in the release.

The full list of cosponsors can be found at

The Windfall Elimination Provision is a formula used to reduce Social Security benefits for individuals who paid into both civil service pensions and Social Security throughout their careers. While the WEP was intended to prevent “windfalls,” in practice, it unfairly penalizes public servants like firefighters, police officers, and teachers by reducing their retirement checks.

The Government Pension Offset reduces the spousal dependent benefits of individuals who did not pay into Social Security themselves by two-thirds of their government pension. In some cases, this results in individuals receiving zero Social Security benefits, even if their spouse paid in their entire working career.