Urge Senators Cantwell, Murray to sign on to Social Security 2100 Act

The Social Security 2100 Act would be a huge step toward a secure retirement for all — but Senator Patty Murray and Senator Maria Cantwell have yet to sign on. Please urge both of Washington’s senators to support Senate Bill 269, which will:

  • Ensure Social Security pays full benefits for the remainder of this century.
  • Expand Social Security’s modest benefits for the 63 million Americans receiving them now, and all future beneficiaries.
  • Switch to a more accurate cost of living adjustment to reflect the costs faced by seniors.
  • Require the wealthy to pay a fairer share of their income toward Social Security than they presently do

See below for contact information and sample text for your message — thank you!

Senator Patty Murray
Phone: (202) 224-2621
Email: https://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme/

Senator Maria Cantwell:
Phone: (202) 224-3441
Email: https://www.cantwell.senate.gov/contact/email/form

SAMPLE TEXT — PLEASE EDIT, A UNIQUE MESSAGE HAS MORE IMPACT!

Dear Senator:

I urge you to sign on to the Social Security 2100 Act (S.269). Social Security is more than a safety net. It improves economic security, stability and growth for me and all of your constituents in Washington.

Social Security provides income for 30 percent of the Washington’s households. More than 1.3 million state residents (18 percent of Washington’s population) receive Social Security benefits. Average retirement benefits are just $1,490/month, and kept an estimated 317,000 Washingtonians age 65 or older out of in poverty in 2018. Social Security is also the primary insurance protection for 95 percent of Washington’s 1.8+ million children and families in the event a parent or spouse were to die or be disabled.

Social Security significantly boosts Washington’s economy. In 2018, benefits an estimated $42.3 billion in economic activity, more than 268,000 jobs and nearly $2.2 billion in state and local tax revenue. In December of 2018 alone, more than $1.9 billion in Social Security benefits went directly to local economies – from populous King County ($450 million to 295,000 people) to rural Garfield County ($889,000 to 665 people).[10]

Half of Americans not yet retired have yet to put away more than $10,000 towards their future retirement. If nothing is done now to fix Social Security, millions will be impacted — including me and my family. Cutting benefits is not the answer. We need to expand and improve Social Security.

I urge you to sign on in support of S.269, the Social Security 2100 Act. This is not just important to me now, but to ensure my children and grandchildren will have Social Security when they need it.

Sincerely,

NAME:
ADDRESS:
PHONE OR EMAIL:

Add COVID-19 to the (long) list of reasons we need to expand Social Security – right now.

social security

The New York Times lays out some of the key issues and questions facing older workers navigating the last part of their careers in the pandemic, noting:

Many older workers, generally those over 40, say they will need to work longer because of the economic crisis. For example, 37 percent of baby boomers and 39 percent of respondents from Generation X said they had delayed retirement or were considering doing so, according to a recent survey by TD Ameritrade.

But that will be easier said than done: Between 2014 and 2016, just over half of workers who retired between ages 55 and 64 did so involuntarily because of ill health, family responsibilities, layoffs and business closings, according to research by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research.

This is exactly why protecting and expanding Social Security is critical for everyone – because you never know what the future holds.

Many people think of Social Security as a retirement savings program — but that’s not the case. It is actually a nationwide insurance policy. Social Security exists to insure workers and their families against old age, premature death, and disability.

Legislation now in Congress would expand Social Security and ensure that all benefits can be paid in full and on time into the 22nd century: the Social Security 2100 Act.

Led by Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), the chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee, the bill has 210 co-sponsors – nearly 90 percent of House Democrats – and an identical bill has been introduced in the Senate.

But to get this legislation across the line your elected leaders need to hear from you:

Policymakers Should Prevent Recession-Related Social Security Benefit Drops

[Via CBPP] The next COVID-19 relief bill should fix an unintended benefit “notch” under which, due to the pandemic and resulting recession, Social Security benefits will be significantly lower for workers who turn 60 this year and will be eligible for early retirement benefits in 2022. Those becoming eligible for disability or young survivors benefits in 2022 will also see lower benefits.

Here’s why:

Social Security benefits for each new age cohort of retirees are designed to replace about 41 percent of a typical worker’s career-average earnings if one claims benefits at the normal retirement age, which is 67 for those turning 60 in 2020 or later. The benefit formula is progressive: workers with below-average earnings receive a higher replacement rate, and those with above-average earnings receive a lower one. Before computing a worker’s average earnings, Social Security adjusts earnings from years before a worker turns 60 to account for the growth in economy-wide wages, using an “average wage index.”

Normally, average earnings in the economy rise from one year to the next. Due to the sudden, sharp unemployment increase in 2020, however, many workers will suffer a big decrease in their annual earnings. And those decreases will cause the economy-wide average annual wage to fall as well. That, in turn, will reduce the average indexed earnings and Social Security benefits of workers turning 60 in 2020 compared to those with similar earnings who turned 60 in 2019. If the average wage falls by 5 percent in 2020, as now seems likely, the retirement benefit of a 60-year-old worker with average earnings will drop by about $1,200 a year for each and every year of retirement. If the average wage falls more, the decreases will be even larger.

People shouldn’t suffer a large, permanent drop in their Social Security benefits just because they turn 60, become disabled, or experience the loss of a breadwinner around the start of a deep recession. Policymakers should fix this unfair result. One solution would be to specify that the wage-indexing factor couldn’t fall from one year to the next, even when the average wage index declines.

Social Security already includes two provisions that prevent reductions in taxes or benefits in unusual circumstances. The amount of annual earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax doesn’t decline even if average wages fall. And cost-of-living adjustments don’t reduce benefits when the consumer price index drops. Retired and disabled workers and survivors should have similar protection from lower benefits because of a decline in average wages.

GOP ‘Plot to Gut Social Security Behind Closed Doors’ Gains Steam in Senate Covid-19 Talks

In the near future, you’re going to start hearing more and more GOP proposals to cut Social Security under the guise of “entitlement reform” as the party suddenly rediscovers its concerns about budget deficits — notwithstanding the fact that they passed a huge tax cut that added trillions to the debt and benefited mostly wealthy individuals and corporations.

“With seniors most at risk from Covid-19, we need to be increasing Social Security’s modest benefits, not creating secret commissions to cut them.”

Read more: Common Dreams

Social Security’s Financial Outlook: The 2020 Update in Perspective

The recent increase to Social Security’s deficit is manageable and unlikely to be severely impacted by the unfolding economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research from The Center on Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR).

Social Security’s Financial Outlook: The 2020 Update in Perspective indicates that while the trust fund depletion date still stands at 2035, long-term negative impacts are unlikely. Further, this pandemic has highlighted the importance of Social Security to older Americans. For millions, their monthly checks are the only steady source of income in retirement.

It’s important to recognize that depletion of the fund doesn’t mean bankruptcy for Social Security. Revenue from payroll tax covers 79 percent of the current benefits, according to the research, but relying on this revenue would mean a drop in the replacement rate in years to come.

While Social Security does face a funding shortfall, it only accounts for about one percent of the total U.S. gross domestic product, and dramatic events such as the COVID-19 pandemic are unlikely to have long-term implications on the funding status. If anything, the pandemic has proven the importance of reliable and steady retirement income, the research indicates.