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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

May 7, 2018 Press Release
Last week, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) celebrated the enactment of his bill, the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act (HR 4547), into law with Disability Rights Connecticut.
April 13, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Trump signed into law the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018 (H.R. 4547). Introduced by Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Ranking Member John Larson (D-CT), this bipartisan legislation will modernize the representative payee program so that it will better protect Social Security beneficiaries who are unable to manage their own benefits. 

Ranking Member Larson said:

April 12, 2018 Press Release
Today, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) released the following statement after the Republicans attempted to pass a measure requiring devastating cuts to the middle class, seniors, Social Security, and Medicare having already passed a disastrous tax bill that gave tax relief to the wealthy and corporations.
April 12, 2018 Press Release
Today, Congressman Larson (CT-01), Lead Democrat on the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee gave the following remarks after the Republicans attempted to pass a measure requiring devastating cuts to the middle class, seniors, Social Security, and Medicare having already passed a disastrous tax bill that gave tax relief to the wealthy and corporations.
March 28, 2018 Event
Rep. Larson is visiting Newington Senior Center
March 27, 2018 Event
Rep. Larson is visiting the West Hartford Senior Center
March 23, 2018 Press Release

Hartford, CT – Today, Ways & Means Social Security Subcommittee Ranking Member John Larson (D-CT), released the following statement on the passing of the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2017 in the Senate by unanimous consent. The bill had previously passed the House of Representatives by a 396 to 0 vote. It now goes to the President for a signature to become law:

March 23, 2018 Event
Rep. Larson is visiting Wethersfield Senior Center.
March 14, 2018 Press Release
During today’s Ways and Means Tax Subcommittee hearing Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) defended Social Security by pointing out it is insurance Americans pay for, not an entitlement, and highlighting the need to expand the program.
March 1, 2018 Press Release
Today, three Ranking Members from the Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), requesting the Committee provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with at least an additional $560 million in FY 2018 over total FY 2017 funding.

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