Is the Social Security Expansion Act Gaining Traction?
For more than 80 years Social Security has been one of the most successful government programs in the history of our country. It has paid out every benefit owed to every eligible American on time and without delay. Yet, tens of millions of seniors and 25 percent of people with disabilities continue to struggle to get by.
40 percent of seniors rely on Social Security for most of their income and fear they won’t be able to retire with security and dignity. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a $2.85 trillion surplus in its trust fund, meaning it can pay out every promised benefit to every eligible American until the year 2035. After this excess runs thin, the SSA estimates plentiful funding available to pay 80 percent of promised benefits.
Given this reality, government officials are determining resources to expand Social Security and extend its solvency so that everyone in America can retire with respect for what they have earned and deserve after a lifetime of hard work. That’s what the Social Security Expansion Act is all about. To improve the Social Security benefits structure.
The Social Security Expansion Act, a bill that was introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders, looks to improve Social Security benefits. “At a time when nearly half of older Americans have no retirement savings and almost 50% of our nation’s seniors are trying to survive on an income of less than $25,000 a year, our job is not to cut Social Security,” Sanders said in the statement.
Under this bill, Social Security benefits for current and existing recipients would be increased by $2,400 a year, and over 93 percent of households would not see their taxes go up by one penny. Seniors would no doubt welcome this increase, if the bill wins approval, as inflation wipes out their annual cost-of-living increases.
If the Expansion Act were to be passed, it brings benefits for the disabled community. For children of disabled or deceased workers the bill would restore student benefits up to age 22, if the child is a full-time student in a college or vocational school. Student benefits would be reinstated by legislation to help educate children of deceased or disabled parents that were eliminated in 1983. To support senior citizens and people with disabilities, the Act would combine the Disability Insurance Trust Fund with the Old Age and Survivors Trust Fund.
However, Republicans are gaining control of the House of Representative, and it is unlikely the bill will get passed onto the President for approval.
Currently there are 56 groups who endorsed the bill:
- Social Security Works
- AFA CWA
- Alliance for Retired Americans
- American Federation of Government Employees
- American Federation of Teachers
- American Postal Workers Union
- International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)
- United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE)
- United Food and Commercial Workers International Union
- National Education Association
- National Domestic Workers Alliance
- People’s Action
- Public Citizen 18. Care in Action
- Center for Medicare Advocacy
- Center for Popular Democracy
- Blue Future
- Church World Service
- Connecticut Citizen Action Group
- Demand Progress
- Health Care Awareness Month
- Hunger Free America
- Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
- Just Care USA
- National Partnership for Women & Families
- NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
- NJ State Industrial Union Council
- Our Revolution
- Right to Health Action (R2H Action)
- Sunrise Movement
- The National Employment Law Project
- Upper West Side Action Group: MoveOn/Indivisible/SwingLeft
- Working Families Party
- National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
- Indivisible Marin
- Children’s Aid
- P Street
- East New York Farms
- Partners for Dignity & Rights
- Generations United
- Broadway Community, Inc.
- National Council of Jewish Women
- New York State Public Health Association
- Justice in Aging
- National Women’s Law Center
- Americans for Tax Fairness
- National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
- Labor Campaign for Single Payer
- American Medical Student Association
The Social Security Expansion Act is timely for a few reasons. According to a recent report from the Social Security Board of Trustees, cash for the Social Security program will run out in 2035, just 13-year’s time. This means 66 million recipients will have their benefits cut by a quarter If more funds are not allocated.
Right now is also a time of historically high inflation which has an exceptionally big impact on seniors living on fixed incomes, and rely solely on Social Security payments.
The new bill aims to ease the financial strain by boosting each recipient’s monthly check. At the end of December 2022, the average monthly Social Security check was about $1,658. Meaning a $200 increase would represent a 12% boost.
“More realistic, responsible and modernizing reform plans on both the benefit and revenue sides showing bipartisan policy leadership are needed to solve Social Security and the larger and growing budget crisis in a fair, reasonable and economically productive manner,” says Mark J. Warshawsky, former deputy commissioner for Retirement and Disability Policy at the Social Security Administration.
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