BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown visited the Boardman Township Fire Department Tuesday, joining local law enforcement and firefighters to discuss his bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act.
Brown is pushing for first responders to get their full Social Security benefits. Two previous statutes reduced them, impacting more than 240,000 people across Ohio, including teachers, police officers and first responders.
The Windfall Elimination Provision, enacted in 1983, reduces the Social Security benefits of workers who receive pensions from a federal, state or local government for employment not covered by Social Security.
The Government Pension Offset, enacted in 1977, reduces Social Security spousal benefits for spouses, widows and widowers whose spouses receive pensions from a federal, state or local government.
According to Brown, the Social Security Fairness Act would repeal both of these statutes, ensuring law enforcement, firefighters, teachers, park rangers and other public sector workers and their families receive their full Social Security benefits.
“Firefighters sacrifice their health and personal lives throughout their careers, and we owe it to them to protect the retirement of these firefighters,” said Boardman Township firefighter Brian Hallquist.
Brown reintroduced the legislation in 2021, alongside other lawmakers. He said Social Security is a bedrock of economic security in this country.
“You pay into your public employee fund. You pay into Social Security. You should get benefits from both,” he said.
Local leaders who dedicate their lives to public service feel this is necessary.
“Educators have worked hard and have had private jobs during the summer to support themselves all these years,” said Lily Martuccio, who retired from Mill Creek MetroParks.
“When I go to retire at 50, 55, I’m probably going to have to pick up another job to pick up health care,” Hallquist said.
Brown emphasized making public positions as enticing as possible so people will continue to serve.
“Have as many advantages and opportunities from pay to pensions to health care as possible,” he said.