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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 29, 2020 Press Release
Today, Ways and Means Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL) and Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (D-CT) introduced the Fairness for Seniors and People with Disabilities During COVID-19 Act, legislation to protect seniors, surviving spouses, children, and people with severe disabilities from being forced to repay extra Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits they may have received in error because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
July 23, 2020 Press Release
Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) released the following statement after it was leaked that the Senate Republican COVID relief package will include the TRUST Act.
July 22, 2020 Press Release
Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) and Republican Leader Tom Reed (NY-23) sent two letters to the Social Security Administration (SSA) Inspector General Gail S. Ennis asking for a review of SSA’s telephone service during the COVID-19 pandemic and SSA’s process for obtaining medical evidence for disability claims.
July 17, 2020 Press Release
Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) held a hearing on The Impact of COVID-19 on Social Security and its Beneficiaries.
July 17, 2020 Press Release

Thank you to the Members and witnesses who have joined us today at the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee hearing, The Impact of COVID-19 on Social Security and Its Beneficiaries.

 

I am glad to see Representatives Moore and Rice join us for this hearing.

 

I also want to thank the Subcommittee Majority and Minority Staff, Kathryn Olson, Elisa Walker, TJ Sutcliffe, Andrew Seddeghi and Amy Shuart, for their hard work during this difficult time.

 

July 9, 2020 Press Release
Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) introduced the Social Security COVID-19 Correction and Equity Act.
July 8, 2020 Press Release
House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) applauded the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee’s approval of $13 billion for the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) FY 2021 budget with an increase of $100 million above FY 2020.
June 25, 2020 Press Release
Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (D-CT) and Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL) sent a letter to Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner Andrew Saul, urging SSA to work with NASEM to advise the agency on the long-term health effects of COVID-19, the effectiveness and availability of treatments, and how to best evaluate the long-term impact of the virus on survivors’ ability to work.
June 24, 2020 Press Release
Last week, the Social Security Advisory Board (SSAB) released an insightful report, detailing the impact of Social Security field offices on its beneficiaries and other stakeholders. To follow up on these efforts, today, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Chairman John Larson, and Congressman Brian Higgins sent a letter to the Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner, Andrew Saul, asking for a response to the troubling findings from the SSAB’s report. The Members released the following statement:
June 18, 2020 Press Release
Yesterday, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (D-CT) and Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL) sent a letter to Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner Andrew Saul, urging SSA to share vital information on Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) with Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries with representative payees

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