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Larson Introduces Coronavirus Relief Bill to Expand Social Security

March 18, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) announced he’s introducing The Emergency Social Security Benefits Improvement Act. This bill will build on the benefit expansions made in the Social Security 2100 Act (H.R. 860) to provide economic relief to those who need it most during the Coronavirus pandemic: the elderly, minority populations, and people with disabilities.

“As we explore stimulus options, we need an all of the above approach. In addition to the options being proposed by the White House, we all also need a focused stimulus to help those most in need. Expanding Social Security benefits will put money in the hands of people who need it most right now: the elderly, minority communities, and people with disabilities. Economists like Jason Furman, Larry Summers, and Heather Boushey have highlighted that Social Security is an economic stimulus and expanding it will help grow our economy! Social Security is America’s insurance. It’s our nation’s number one anti-poverty program and could be our number one stimulus program. People aren’t getting wealthy off of Social Security, they’re spending their benefits and are putting that money right back into the economy. If we can afford to bail out the cruise industry, we can also afford to give back to seniors. This emergency bill will help our most vulnerable during this pandemic,” said Larson.

The benefit improvements in The Emergency Social Security Benefits Act are temporary, take effect immediately, retroactive to January 1, 2020, and in force until December 31, 2020.

The benefit improvements are:

  • Average of 2% benefit increase across the board to all 64 million Americans receiving Social Security benefits;
  • Increases threshold for Special Minimum Benefit to 125% of poverty;
  • Reduces tax on benefits for lower- and middle-income taxpayers;
  • Ensures grandparents are entitled to benefits to care for their grandchildren;
  • Improves the widows’ benefits for lower- and middle- income beneficiaries;
  • Ensures dependent students are qualified for benefits through age 21.