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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

June 8, 2020 Press Release
Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) welcomed a report from the Social Security Advisory Board (SSAB) on Social Security field offices, “Decisions Regarding Field Office Closures”.
May 20, 2020 Press Release
Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) and Ranking Member Tom Reed (NY-23) released the following statements after they held a roundtable discussion on Social Security and the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 15, 2020 Op-Ed and Letters
Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) wrote the following op-ed that appeared in the Hartford Courant.
May 15, 2020 Press Release
Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) and Foreign Affairs Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) are requesting that the U.S. State Department immediately turn over the Trump administration’s plan to cut Social Security benefits and all related documents.
May 14, 2020 In The News

The Democratic chairmen of two House panels are scrutinizing a State Department plan to overhaul Social Security that they say unfairly takes away Americans’ entitlement benefits in exchange for a quick cash payment.

May 11, 2020 Press Release
Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) released the following statement after the Washington Post reported that the White House is looking into cutting Social Security to pay for direct payments.
May 4, 2020 Press Release
House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) called for an emergency expansion of Social Security to help address the current economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 22, 2020 Press Release
Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) released the following statement on the 2020 Social Security Trustees Report.
April 21, 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 Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urging Treasury to allow Social Security beneficiaries who have dependents, but don’t file taxes, to continue to receive their $500 per child Economic Impact Payment in a timely manner, even if they miss Wednesday’s noon deadline.
April 21, 2020 Press Release
Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) is urging Social Security beneficiaries with dependents who do not file tax returns to visit irs.gov before Wednesday’s deadline and file for the $500 per dependent child economic impact payment.

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