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Reps. Cartwright, Larson Introduce Landmark Social Security Bill to Boost Benefits and Strengthen Trust Fund

This week, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) joined House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) to introduce Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust.

“After a lifetime of work, every American deserves the dignity of a secure and fulfilling retirement. But Social Security hasn’t been improved in 50 years, and as a result millions of seniors receive poverty-level checks each month. It’s unacceptable,” said Rep. Cartwright. “Social Security 2100 will boost social security benefits, update the cost-of-living adjustment that has failed to keep pace with seniors’ expenses, and ensure benefits can be paid for years to come.”

“Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust combines the best of the previous year’s Social Security 2100 Act with President Biden’s proposals to expand benefits and strengthen Social Security. The pandemic has only underscored what we already knew and has exacerbated systemic inequities – current benefits are not enough! Five million seniors are living in poverty due to longstanding discrimination in the labor force that affects mostly people of color and women. These are our mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and neighbors. For too long, Congress has forsaken its duty to enhance benefits. It’s time that we act now,” said House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01).

Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust Increases Benefits

  • Benefit bump for current and new beneficiaries – Provides an increase for all beneficiaries that is the equivalent to about 2 percent of the average benefit. The U.S. faces a retirement crisis and a modest boost in benefits strengthens the one leg of the retirement system that is universal and the most reliable.
  • Protection against inflation – Improves the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) formula to better reflect the costs incurred by seniors through adopting a CPI-E formula. This provision will help seniors who spend a greater portion of their income on health care and other necessities. Improved inflation protection will especially help older retirees and widows who are more likely to rely on Social Security benefits as they age.
  • Protects low-income workers – No one who paid into the system over a lifetime should retire into poverty. The new minimum benefit will be set at 25 percent above the poverty line and would be tied to wage levels to ensure that the minimum benefit does not fall behind.
  • Improves benefits for widows and widowers in two income household.
  •  Repeals the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) that currently penalize many public servants.
  • Ends the 5-month waiting period to receive disability benefits.
  • Provides caregiver credits to ensure that caregivers are not penalized in retirement for taking time out of the workforce to care for children or other dependents.
  • Extends dependent benefits for students through age 26 and includes part-time students.
  • Increases access to benefits for children who live with grandparents or other relatives.

Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust Strengthens the Trust Fund

  • Have millionaires and billionaires pay the same rate as everyone else – Presently, payroll taxes are not collected on wages over $142,800. This legislation would apply the payroll tax to wages above $400,000. This provision would only affect the top 0.4% of wage earners.
  • Extends the depletion date (when a 20% cut to benefits would occur) to 2038 – Giving Congress more time to ensure long term solvency of the Trust Funds.
  • Social Security Trust Fund Established – Social Security provides all-in-one retirement, survivor, and disability benefits funded through the dedicated FICA contribution paid by workers. There are technically two trust funds, Old-Age and Survivors (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI), that are usually referred to as the Social Security Trust Fund. This provision combines the OASI & DI trust funds into one Social Security Trust Fund, to ensure that all benefits will be paid.

Text of the bill can be viewed HERE.