Texas Senate, District 2
P.O. Box 12068 Capitol Station, Austin, Texas 78711
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: February 19, 2003
CONTACT: Don T. Forse, Jr.
Deuell Calls on Congress to Eliminate Government Pension Offset
AUSTIN -- Texas State Senator Robert F. Deuell (R- Greenville) has filed a resolution calling on Congress to eliminate the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision of the Social Security Act. The GPO is a program that reduces social security benefits for recipients of public pensions.
The resolution, Senate Concurrent Resolution 10, has been referred to the Senate Committee on State Affairs. A companion resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 17, has been filed in the House by State Representative Leo Berman (R - Tyler) and was referred to the House Committee on Pensions and Investments.
The GPO was enacted in 1977 and, according to Deuell, penalizes recipients of public pensions.
"The GPO reduces benefits for spouses, widows or widowers who also receive pensions from government agencies," Deuell said. "It is estimated that 90% of public employees affected by the GPO lose their entire spousal benefit. This penalizes people who have dedicated their lives to public service."
According to Deuell, the program is especially harmful to those professions whom the public relies on the most.
"This provision targets thousands of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other public servants because it applies only to recipients of public pensions. Recipients of private-sector pension benefits are not subject to the same penalty."
According to the National Education Association (NEA), some 300,000 individuals lose an average of $3600 a year due to the GPO. The NEA says that impacted people therefore have less money to spend and sometimes have to turn to expensive government programs like food stamps to make ends meet.
The resolution, (SCR 10), also states that as many of 305,000 low and middle-income retirees are most harshly affected by the GPO , causing many to live at or below the poverty level.
The resolution calls on the Congress of the United States to repeal the GPO provision of the Social Security Act. If passed, the Texas Secretary of State will forward copies of the resolution the Speaker of the House and the members of the Texas Congressional delegation with the request that it be officially entered into the Congressional Record.