With Joe Biden taking the official oath of office today, becoming our nation’s 46th President, hopefully the new administration will make Social Security reform a priority. President Biden ran for office on a platform calling for sweeping changes to Social Security and his Vice President, Kamala Harris, co-sponsored the Social Security Expansion Act while serving as a Senator from California last year.
Now it’s time to hold politicians accountable for their promises. CNBC looked into the Biden Plan and determined that many of his proposals could become reality under the new administration and Democratic-led Congress. Bipartisan support will be key to making that happen but there is optimism a fix Social Security can be found.
One of the tenets of the Biden Plan for Older Americans was to protect and strengthen Social Security, declaring it the “bedrock of American retirement.” We hope this sentiment is acted upon.
The document points out that nearly 90% of retirement-age Americans receive Social Security, with about one in four of them relying on their benefits for all, or almost all, of their income.
There were four main components of the plan regarding Social Security:
- Urgent action to protect the solvency of America’s Social Security system – The Trust Fund is already in deficit and is predicted to be exhausted in the next ten to 15 years, so swift action is required. To put Social Security on the path to long-term solvency, the plan calls for having high income individuals pay the same taxes on their earnings that middle-class workers pay.
- Provide higher benefits to the oldest Social Security recipients. As people age they become more vulnerable to exhausting their savings. This plan calls for providing increased benefits to those who have been receiving benefits for at least 20 years to help protect them from poverty.
- A true minimum benefit for lifelong workers. Someone who worked for decades and paid into the system should spend their final years struggling to make ends meet. Under the plan, if you worked for over 30 years, you would get a Social Security benefit of at least 125% of the poverty level.
- Changing how the annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is calculated – The Consumer Price Index for the Elderly, or CPI-E, which better takes into account the expenses retirees face such as health care, should be used.
What Needs to Happen
Increasing benefits, using a fair COLA, and shoring up the long-term solvency of Social Security are all ideas The Seniors Trust strongly supports – but we need to see action.
The solution is to pass The Social Security Expansion Act. This legislation boosts benefits by about $65 a month, implements a COLA increase, mandates higher minimum benefits, and protects the future of the program.
The Seniors Trust is devoted to protecting and expanding Social Security retirement benefits for every American senior. We committed to pushing members of Congress to enact the Social Security Expansion Act. You can show your support for The Seniors Trust’s mission by signing its petition.