The golden years have turned dark for too many American retirees who are now struggling financially. Social Security benefits alone are not enough to keep up with rising expenses, such as higher gas and grocery costs, due in part to the pandemic-related inflation. A new bill has been introduced which its sponsor believes will address these issues.
In commemoration of the 86th anniversary of Social Security in August, Representative Gwen Moore re-introduced the Social Security Enhancement and Protection Act. The bill aims to reduce the risk that older Americans, women, and people of color will live in poverty despite receiving their monthly checks.
Moore says her proposal will “help us ensure that Social Security does what it was intended to do: protect all older Americans from spending their retirement living in deep poverty.”
According to CNBC, among other things, the Social Security Enhancement and Protection Act calls for raising the special minimum benefit — a floor for low earners — to 100% of the current poverty level and increasing monthly checks for all beneficiaries by 5% once they have been retired for 20 years. To pay for these proposals, the bill calls for phasing out the Social Security payroll tax cap, which currently only applies to wages up to $142,800, and gradually raising the rate at which both employers and employees pay that tax to 6.5%, from the current rate of 6.2%, over six years.
There Is a Better Option
There is a better option for retirees. The Social Security Expansion Act would greatly help seniors financially. One of the highlights of the bill is that it would update the Special Minimum Benefit to make it easier for lower-income workers to qualify by increasing and indexing the benefit level so that it is equal to 125 percent of the poverty line.”
Seniors across the board will benefit from passage of the Social Security Expansion Act. To begin with, it will increase minimum Social Security benefits to provide higher payments to retirees. Benefits for most recipients would increase by about $65 per month.
Additionally, this bill calls for changing the way the annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustment is calculated – using the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) instead of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W). The CPI-E takes the unique spending habits of seniors into account — particularly regarding the cost of healthcare — and offers a more realistic COLA for retirees. Lastly, it calls for creating a strong and long-lasting Trust Fund.
The Seniors Trust is a strong proponent of the Social Security Expansion Act. It is the best chance to improve Social Security: by expanding and strengthening benefits. Seniors earned it.