Congressman Peter DeFazio and Senator Bernie Sanders introduced joint legislation, the Social Security Expansion Act (SSEA), to strengthen and expand Social Security.
The bill was introduced June 9, after Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report saying Americans will stop receiving their full Social Security benefits in about 13 years if lawmakers don’t act.
“As a trained gerontologist, I have devoted my career to protecting and expanding programs that are vital to seniors.,” said Rep. DeFazio (D-OR). “This legislation would ensure that the Social Security Trust Fund remains solvent for another 75 years…”
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Social Security recipients get a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) once a year, with a bump of 5.9% for 2022. That increase, however, may not keep pace with this year’s soaring inflation numbers.
Accoding to a release on Rep. DeFazio’s web page, the Social Security Expansion Act would:
- Extend the solvency of the Social Security trust fund 75 years, through 2096, by requiring the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share into the fund, just like everyone else. This legislation would lift the income tax cap and subject all income above $250,000 to the Social Security Payroll tax. Under this bill, more than 93 percent of households would not see their taxes go up by one penny.
- Expand Social Security benefits across-the-board for current and new beneficiaries. Under this bill, Social Security benefits for someone turning 62 next year would be $200 per month higher.
- Increase Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs). This bill would more accurately measure spending patterns of seniors by adopting the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), which would change the formula to reflect what seniors spend a disproportionate amount of their income on such as health care and prescription drugs.
- Require millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share into Social Security. Currently, workers have 12.4 percent taken out of each paycheck and contributed to the Trust Fund, half paid by the employer and half by the worker. This bill would require the wealthy pay the same 12.4 percent on their investments and business income by increasing the net investment income tax by 12.4 percent and applying it to certain business income not already covered by payroll taxes.
- Improve the Special Minimum Benefit for Social Security recipients. This bill will help low-income workers stay out of poverty by updating and increasing the Special Minimum Benefit and indexing the benefit level so that it is equal to 125 percent of the poverty line or about $17,000 for a single worker who had worked their full career.
- Restore student benefits up to age 22 for children of disabled or deceased workers, if the child is a full-time student in a college or vocational school. This legislation restores student benefits to help educate children of deceased or disabled parents (these benefits were eliminated in 1983).
- Combine the Disability Insurance Trust Fund with the Old Age and Survivors Trust fund to help senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
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