How U.S. House Democrats Want To Bolster Social Security

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U.S. House Democrats have a plan to strengthen Social Security. It may not become law this year, but it’s a solid move to ensure that the program stays solvent.

That proposal, called “Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust,” would expand benefits, which has not been done in about 51 years, noted John Larson (D-Ct.), who proposed the bill and who serves as chair of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, according to CNBC.

“It’s long overdue that we make sure that we’re enhancing a program that they need, especially during this pandemic,” said Larson of the program’s beneficiaries.

Although Social Security payments are adjusted for inflation, they have not kept up with the real cost of living.

“Still, advocates for expanding Social Security argue benefits have diminished over time. Social Security benefits have lost 40% of their buying power since the year 2000,” reports CNBC, according to an analysis by The Senior Citizens League. Here are some of the core tenets of the Democrats’ bill:

  • Increase all checks by about 2% of the average benefit. Minimum benefits would be set above the poverty line and tie it to current wage levels.
  • The annual cost-of-living adjustment would be changed with the goal of “better keeping up with the costs retirees face.”
  • Widows and widowers would also receive higher benefits. It would repeal rules that reduce benefits for public workers, including the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset.
  • Provide caregiver credits to people who take time out of the workforce to care for children or other family members.
  • Student benefits would be extended to age 26. Children who live with grandparents or other relatives would also have increased access to benefits.
  • Ending the five-month waiting period for disability benefits.

How will these benefits be finance? The bill calls for reapplying the Social Security payroll tax on wages above $400,000, which would affect an estimated 0.4% of wage earners.