Letter to Congress: Taxation of Social Security Benefits

Letter to Congress: Taxation of Social Security Benefits

On Thursday, February 9th The Senior Citizens League hand delivered letters to key lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee concerning the unfair taxation of Social Security benefits. In the letter, The Senior Citizens League advocates for enactment of H.R. 1631, the Save Social Security Act, which would change the tax threshold so that any household earning less than $100,000 would not have their Social Security benefits taxed. Below is an example of the letter we delivered.

 

The Honorable Sherrod Brown
713 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Brown,

On behalf of The Senior Citizens League’s one million members nation-wide –114,864 of whom are your constituents – I urge you and your colleagues in Congress to enact legislation that would correct the unfair taxation of Social Security benefits.

According to a recent national survey conducted by The Senior Citizens League, about 56 percent of all households receiving Social Security pay taxes on at least a portion of their benefits. In 2014, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the average tax payment equaled 6.7 percent of benefit income – an amount that is projected to grow to 9 percent of benefits by 2039. That growth is now expected to occur much sooner due to a provision in the new tax law that uses the slowly-growing “chained” Consumer Price Index to adjust the tax code.

When Congress first enacted the tax on Social Security benefits in 1983, it was estimated to affect only 10 percent of beneficiaries earning more than $25,000 per year (or $32,000 for married couples filing jointly). The income thresholds, however, were never adjusted for inflation in thirty-five years and remain the same today. If the thresholds for taxation were adjusted for today’s inflation, retirees earning $61,940 per year or married couples earning $79,284 per year would be paying taxes on their benefits. Instead, millions of seniors living at just 155 percent of the poverty line are hit by the unfair taxation of benefits.

The Senior Citizens League was disappointed that these outdated thresholds were not adjusted in last year’s tax reform law, but it is not too late for Congress to take action. The Save Social Security Act (H.R. 1631) introduced by Representative Charlie Crist (FL-13) would provide much-needed tax relief to middle-income Social Security beneficiaries by ensuring that households earning less than $100,000 per year would not pay income taxes on their Social Security benefits. Our members nationwide urge you to cosponsor / sponsor this bill and work across the aisle to correct the unfair taxation of Social Security benefits.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact The Senior Citizens League at any time.

Sincerely,

Art Cooper, Chairman

The Senior Citizens League

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