Thirteen years. That’s how long the Social Security Trustees estimate that the program’s combined retirement and disability trust fund will be able to pay full benefits. After that, if no changes are made, the fund will be depleted and benefits will have to be cut by up to 25 percent. However, some lawmakers are proposing changes that they say will help to strengthen the long-term solvency of Social Security.
Proposed Bills to Protect Social Security
Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida have introduced the Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act, which would gradually increase the amount of income that is subject to Social Security payroll taxes. This could provide a much-needed influx of revenue to the program.
Other bills recently introduced include the Social Security Expansion Act from Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Peter DeFazio, which would not only increase the amount of income subject to payroll taxes but would also gradually raise the benefit level for retirees.
How would these proposals strengthen Social Security?
- Revenue: The most important thing for Social Security is to bring in enough revenue to pay benefits. The program is currently facing a funding shortfall, and these proposals would help to close that gap.
- Benefits: Raising the payroll tax would also mean raising benefits for future retirees. This is because benefits are calculated based on your earnings history. So, if you pay more into the system, you’ll get more out.
- The Social Security Trust Fund: The trust fund is what’s used to cover the gap between revenue and expenses in a given year. It’s made up of special-issue Treasury bonds, and it currently has a balance of about $2.8 trillion. If the trust fund is depleted, benefits would have to be cut.
The Seniors Center
At The Seniors Center, we’re ready to see change. We know that Social Security is vital to the financial well-being of seniors, and we’ll be closely watching these proposed changes as they make their way through Congress.
If you’re ready to join us as we call on Congress to protect the future of this program, add your name to our petition today and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more updates.