HUGE Benefits Boost Coming! SS 2100 Act Passed?!

The bill, Jayapal wrote, “increases benefits across the board at a time of higher inflation, protects low-income seniors, widows and widowers, ends wait-times for those with disabilities needing support and more. Crucially, it is paid for by making millionaires and billionaires pay the same rate as everyone else by ensuring the payroll tax is applied to wages above $400,000.” Jayamal also urged Speaker Pelosi to move the bill to a vote in the House “as soon as possible.”

Democratic Representative John Larson from Connecticut, chairman of the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, similarly urged his fellow lawmakers back in December to vote on the bill. A spokesperson for Larson’s office told ThinkAdvisor on Tuesday that the bill will be marked up, and “the plan is for a floor vote before November”. Alright so keep that in mind. We finally have some sort of confirmation that this bill should come to a vote sometime before November of this year. The 2100 bill would also have the unique benefit of pushing to 2038 the trust fund’s depletion date, at which it would be forced to cut benefits by 20%. Jayapal also noted in her letter to Speaker Pelosi that the bill “makes a number of urgently needed improvements to the program, including increasing retirement, disability, and dependent benefits; protecting against inflation; removing penalties against dual-income households; ending the five-month waiting period for disability benefits”. The Social Security 2100 Act is supported by 202 House Democrats; in other words, nearly the entire party caucus. The bill will probably not be able to jump the hurdle of a Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate, but it is nonetheless imperative to get everyone in Congress to cast their vote on this issue.

The Social Security 2100 legislation would close 52% of the long-term shortfall, according to an analysis by the Social Security actuaries. It would push the trust fund depletion date back to 2038 by adding new payroll taxes to wages over $400,000, at which currently, taxation stops at $147,000. Earlier versions of the bill restored solvency for 75 years by also gradually increasing payroll tax rates, but that has been eliminated to reflect President Joe Biden’s campaign pledge not to raise taxes on people with incomes below $400,000 per year. The bill also recognizes the need to expand benefits, which can help address rising income inequality, and racial and gender gaps in retirement security. The COVID-19 pandemic has unfortunately only continued to widen those gaps. Moreover, Gen-Xers and Millennials are actually likely to fare even worse than boomers and today’s seniors once they reach retirement age. This is the result of factors such as escalating higher-education costs, staggering student debt burdens, wage stagnation, soaring housing costs and the decline of traditional defined benefit pensions.

Social Security 2100 includes a modest 2% across-the-board boost in benefits, and would shift the annual cost-of-living increase to a more generous formula. It also includes targeted benefit increases such as a new minimum benefit level for very low income seniors, and improved benefits for widows and widowers. Additionally, it would provide caregiver credits that increase benefits for people who take time out of the workforce to care for dependent family members. And lastly, this bill would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset, which currently penalizes many people who work in the public sector. All in all, a 5 star bill. Let’s hope it passes sooner rather than later.

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