When Social Security celebrated its 87th birthday on Sunday, a new milestone was attained.
On August 14, 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ratified the scheme. Today, it pays over 65 million beneficiaries with monthly checks.
But if Congress does not act sooner, the program will shortly reach a deadline after which it would no longer be able to pay full payments.
The program’s trustees estimate that just 80% of benefits will be payable in 2035.
John Larson of Connecticut and Pramila Jayapal of Washington, both House Democrats, joined forces on Monday to demand that a vote be held this fall on a bill to increase Social Security.
According to Larson, the bill’s sponsor and chair of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, the plan, titled Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust, would increase payouts, something that has not been done in roughly 51 years.
“It’s long overdue that we make sure that we’re enhancing a program that they need, especially during this pandemic,” Regarding the recipients of the program, Larson remarked.
The progressive caucus’ chair, Pramila Jayapal, requested action as soon as next month.
“When Congress returns from recess in September, we need to bring this bill up in committee, and then send it to the floor for a vote,” Jayapal said.
How the bill would increase pension benefits
Larson’s most recent Social Security 2100 bill aims to improve Social Security benefits in a number of different ways.
It suggests raising each check by around 2% of the typical benefit. The minimum benefit would likewise be raised above the poverty line and tied to current pay levels at the same time.
The annual cost-of-living adjustment measure would be modified in order to properly reflect the expenses that retirees must bear.
The payments for widows and widowers would likewise be more generous. Regulations like the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision that lower benefits for public employees would be repealed.
The bill also mandates that those who leave their jobs to care for children or other family members should receive caregiver credits.
Student benefits would be available until age 26. Children would have more access to benefits if they resided with their grandparents or other relatives.
The five-month waiting period for disability compensation is also to be eliminated, according to the measure.
The measure asks for reintroducing the Social Security payroll tax on wages above $400,000, which would impact an estimated 0.4% of wage earners, in order to pay for the benefit increases.
Wages up to $147,000 are now subject to Social Security taxes in 2022. 6.2% of wages are taxed by both employers and employees, for a total of 12.4%.
It might be difficult to find bipartisan support
2100 Social Security: 202 Democrats are now supporting A Sacred Trust in the House of Representatives.
It is one of a number of Democratic initiatives aimed at Social Security reform. Although the solutions are different, they all aim to improve benefits while raising program contributions from the wealthy.
The length of time they would extend the program’s solvency is, however, a significant distinction. The Social Security 2100 Act would push back the predicted date of depletion from 2035 to 2038. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have another proposal that would enhance benefits while extending the program’s solvency past 2096.
Democrats will have to deal with Republicans who have stated their opposition to rising taxes and benefit levels while still trying to discuss the specifics of their ideas.
Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican from Florida, has come under fire for his plan to end government programs like Social Security and Medicare every five years. He denied having any plans to reduce benefits during a Senate hearing in June.
″I’ve proposed that Congress rightly review these programs,” Scott said. “I’m never going to support cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.”
Whatever the case, both houses will need to approve any program adjustments, which will require support from both parties. But it’s still unclear what fixes may be reached by both parties.
“Any Social Security reform that may pass, that can be enacted, is going to be a compromise,” according to Andrew Biggs, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a member of President Joe Biden’s Social Security Advisory Board.