By Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA-38) and Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12)
Social Security is one of our country's greatest success stories. For nearly eight decades it has helped keep seniors out of poverty and given them a sense of independence. In 2012, Social Security helped keep over 15 million Americans out of poverty.
Today, the dream of a secure retirement seems out of reach for many American families. For a quarter of older married couples and half of older single retirees, Social Security provides at least 90% of their income. Furthermore, the next generation of retirees increasingly feels like they will not be able to afford the costs of retirement. Half of Americans have less than $100,000 in savings and only 14% are "very confident" they will have enough for a comfortable retirement.
As more retirees enter into their golden years, we have to make sure Social Security remains strong and solvent for future generations. That is why we are proud to have introduced the Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013. This legislation would update the current Social Security formula to more accurately reflect the cost-of-living increases that seniors are currently facing. It would also extend the life of the Social Security fund by gradually eliminating the payroll tax cap so that all Americans contribute their fair share.
Under the Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013, Social Security benefits would also increase by approximately $70 per month. With this bill, we can do two things-offer relief to seniors by boosting benefits for beneficiaries and by making the program stronger for future generations. Combined, these changes are estimated to preserve the Social Security Trust Fund through 2049 and significantly reduce any longer-term shortfall in Social Security funding.
The Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013 also offers a fairer cost-of-living adjustment that reflects the fact that many of the services retirees purchase, such as health care, are rising in cost at a faster pace than the official rate of inflation.
For generations, we have lived by a simple promise: Americans who have worked hard their entire lives have the right to retire with dignity and security. Your golden years should truly be golden—living in good health, without worrying about financial insecurity.
We need to address the retirement crisis and ensure that, after a lifetime of hard work, people are able to retire with dignity and financial independence. The best way to do that is to improve the most efficient, most effective retirement program we have — Social Security — by supporting legislation such as the Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013.