Can This Bill Save Social Security Before Time Runs Out?

Can This Bill Save Social Security Before Time Runs Out?

The bill would push the Social Security trust’s depletion date back almost two decades to 2052.

Two members of Congress have introduced another bill aimed at extending the solvency of Social Security. This one is known as the Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act, and it was introduced by Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida.

“This bill revises the methodology for calculating Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) benefits and phases out the cap on compensation subject to Social Security taxation,” the bill’s summary states.

“The bill directs the Bureau of Labor Statistics to prepare and publish a Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPI-E) to track cost-of-living changes for individuals age 62 or older. The Social Security Administration shall use the CPI-E to calculate the cost-of-living adjustment for OASDI benefits, where it currently uses the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers,” the summary adds. “The bill phases out and after 2025 eliminates the cap on compensation ($132,900 in 2019) subject to Social Security taxation. This change applies to both wage earners and the self-employed.”

And finally, “the bill also changes the calculation for the primary insurance amount (the amount received by a beneficiary who elects to receive OASDI benefits at full retirement age) by including the additional earnings that are now taxed as a result of the cap elimination.”

According to CNBC, the bill would push the Social Security trust’s depletion date back to 2052, as opposed to the current projected date of 2035. The most recent Social Security Trustees Report forecasted the 2035 date, a year later than what was projected in the previous year's report.

“Every day, I hear stories from seniors in my district about the importance of their Social Security checks to their quality of life and to their day-to-day survival,” Deutch said in a statement introducing the bill. “This bill will not only continue these lifesaving benefits but strengthen them for decades to come,” he continued.

The Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act joins two other proposals introduced in the current Congress. Those are the Social Security 2100 Act, introduced by Rep. John Larson (D-CT), and the Social Security Expansion Act, which was introduced by a group of progressive senators led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

It’s not clear whether any of those pieces of legislation have any chance of passage in the current Congress, which is running out of time. None of the bills have been directly endorsed by the White House or leaders in Congress, nor has Social Security solvency been a major issue in the current midterm election campaign.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters.