An effort to help residents retain their Social Security benefits during a career change unanimously passed the state Senate on Monday.
Senate Joint Resolution 3, authored by Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, petitions Congress and President Donald Trump to repeal two federal retirement benefit laws that reduce Social Security benefits in certain circumstances for public employees and their spouses, according to a news release from Wilk’s office.
The legislation targets two laws passed in 1970s: the Government Pension Offset, which cuts benefits when an individual receives a government pension and their spouse is eligible for Social Security from non-government employment; and the Windfall Elimination Provision, or WEP, which cuts an individual’s benefits when they’re eligible for Social Security and government pensions from separate employers.
Both the GPO and WEP were passed with little statistical analysis in an effort to prevent “double-dipping” from Social Security and other government pensions, and more than 300,000 California retirees have had their Social Security benefits diminished or eliminated by the WEP and GPO in the three decades since they were passed, according to the resolution’s analysis.
“While this seems complicated, it is not,” Wilk previously said, mentioning that peace officers, firefighters and educators often see their Social Security benefit slashed because of the federal policies.
“These laws were intended to prevent people from taking advantage of the government, but instead, they have resulted in the government taking advantage of its people,” Wilk said Monday. “I want to thank my Senate colleagues for recognizing the national importance of this issue, and I hope the federal government hears us and responds.”
With support from education groups like the California Teachers Association, the California Retired Teachers Association and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the measure moves to the state Assembly.