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Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust

For more than 86 years, the Federal Government has kept the promise to all Americans: if they contribute to Social Security with each and every paycheck, they would be able to retire with dignity. President Biden has called this promise a “sacred trust.”

It is Congress’ responsibility to keep that promise and to safeguard Social Security for all Americans. Congress must also ensure the benefits keep up with Americans’ expenses – today, tomorrow, and forever.

That’s why, as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, Rep. Larson authored the Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust.

Increases Benefits

  • Benefit bump for current and new Social Security beneficiaries – Provides an increase for all beneficiaries (receiving retirement, disability or dependent benefits) equivalent to an average of 2% of benefits to make up for inadequate Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA) since 1983. The US faces a retirement crisis and a modest boost in benefits strengthens the one leg of the retirement system that is universal and the most reliable: Social Security.

  • Protection against inflation – Improves the annual Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) formula to better reflect the costs incurred by seniors through adopting what’s called a “CPI-E formula.” This provision will help seniors who spend a greater portion of their income on health care and other necessities. Improved inflation protection will especially help older retirees, people of color, and widows who are more likely to rely on Social Security benefits as they age. 

  • Protects low-income workers – Five million seniors currently live in poverty. No one who paid into the system over a lifetime should retire into poverty. The new minimum benefit will be set at 25% above the poverty line and would be tied to wage levels to ensure that the minimum benefit does not fall behind.

  • Improves Social Security benefits for widows and widowers in two income households so they are not penalized for having two incomes.

  • Repeals the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) that currently reduces Social Security benefits for many public servants, including teachers.

  • Ends the 5-month waiting period to receive disability benefits, so those with ALS or other severe disabilities no longer have to wait.

  • Provides caregiver credits toward Social Security wages to ensure caregivers are not penalized in retirement for taking time out of the workforce to care for children or other dependents.

  • Extends Social Security dependent benefits for students to age 26 and for part-time students.

  • Increases access to Social Security dependent benefits for children who live with grandparents or other relatives.

  • Requires SSA to mail annual statements to all workers – The bill requires SSA to mail annual statements showing the FICA contributions workers make and projections for their benefits in the future.  This will help workers prepare for retirement, disability or in the event of an untimely death. Currently, SSA makes this information available only on its website mySSA.com.

  • Prevents unwarranted closures of SSA field offices – The bill will improve customer service by making it more difficult to close field offices, which are used by many seniors to file claims and discuss questions about their benefits.

  • Improves access to legal representation for people seeking long term disability benefits.

 Strengthens the Trust Fund

  • Have millionaires and billionaires pay the same rate as everyone else – Presently, payroll taxes are not collected on an individual’s wages over $142,800. This legislation would apply the payroll tax to wages above $400,000 so the wealthy pay the same rate as someone earning $50,000 a year. This provision would only affect the top 0.4% of wage earners. 

  • Extends the solvency of Social Security – This bill makes a significant contribution toward the program’s solvency, making up more than half the shortfall in the Social Security Trust Funds.

  • Social Security Trust Fund Established – Social Security provides all-in-one retirement, survivor, and disability benefits funded through the dedicated FICA contribution paid by workers. There are technically two trust funds, Old-Age and Survivors (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI), and that are usually referred to as the Social Security Trust Fund. This provision combines the OASI & DI trust funds into one Social Security Trust Fund, to ensure that all benefits will be paid.

 

More on Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust

July 24, 2018 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, two bipartisan bills led by Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) that focus on common-sense solutions were passed by unanimously by voice vote. These are the eighth and ninth Larson-led bills that have passed in the House this year. The two bills are the Improving Social Security’s Service to Victims of Identity Theft Act (H.R. 6084) and the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment Transparency Act (H.R. 6138).

July 11, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. John Larson, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Social Security, released the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order that allows the President to appoint federal Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) on the basis of ideology and political orientation, rather than through a competitive examination process based on merit, neutrality, and fitness for office.

June 28, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Ranking Member of the Ways & Means Social Security Subcommittee Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) introduced the Social Security Administration Fairness Act (H.R. 6251/3147) to give the Social Security Administration the funds necessary to restore timely service to beneficiaries. In addition to Larson and Sanders, they were joined by over 20 of their House colleagues and 6 Senators.

June 22, 2018 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01), House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) and Reps. Danny Davis (D-IL), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Donald Beyer (D-VA), and Gwen Moore (D-WI) along with over one hundred of their colleagues called on President Trump to stop closing Social Security field offices across the country. In the last year alone, the Social Security Administration (SSA) shuttered offices in Virginia, Wisconsin, Maryland, and Illinois.

June 20, 2018 Press Release
Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) released the following statement after the Commit to Opioid Medical Prescriber Accountability and Safety for Seniors (COMPASS) Act (H.R. 5716) passed in the House of Representatives yesterday.
June 13, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01), Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Social Security and Representative Mike Bishop (MI-08), the newest member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, introduced H.R. 6084, the Improving Social Security’s Service to Victims of Identity Theft Act.

June 7, 2018 Press Release
Larson Opening Statement at Social Security Subcommittee Hearing on Social Security’s Solvency Challenge
June 5, 2018 Press Release
John B. Larson (CT-01), Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, released the following statement on the 2018 Social Security Trustees Report.
May 18, 2018 Press Release
Ranking Member Larson Opening Statement at Social Security Subcommittee Hearing on the Future of the Social Security Number
May 8, 2018 Page
Social Security is our nation’s most successful insurance program. For 80+ years, Social Security has been a promise to all Americans that they would have a chance to retire with dignity after a lifetime of hard work.

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