Terri A. Sewell

10/26/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/26/2021 16:03

Rep. Sewell, Larson Introduce Landmark Bill to Protect, Strengthen, and Expand Social Security

Washington, D.C.- Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) joined House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) to introduce Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust. This landmark legislation would enhance Social Security benefits for the first time in 50 years, providing a benefit bump for beneficiaries, improving the cost of living formula, and providing credits for those who take time out of the workforce to care for a loved one. The bill is completely paid for by asking top earners to pay their fair share. Rep. Sewell joined Chairman Larson for a press conference today announcing the bill's introduction which can be viewed here.

"As a proud member of the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, I know that Social Security is a critical lifeline for so many hard-working Americans in Alabama's 7th district and across this nation," said Rep. Sewell. "We should not only protect it, but improve it and expand it. With this bill, Social Security 2100, we're ensuring that every worker can retire with dignity after a lifetime of work."

"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! 5 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 and lead sponsor John Larson.

Social Security 2100 Increases Benefits:

  • Benefit bump for current and new beneficiaries - Provides an increase for all beneficiaries that is the equivalent to about 2% of the average benefit. The US 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% above the poverty line and would be tied to wage levels to ensure that the minimum benefit does not fall behind.

Social Security 2100 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.

Social Security 2100 also:

  • Improves benefits for widows and widowers in two income households.
  • 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.
  • 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.