Hearing On “Equity in Social Security: In Their Own Words”

Hearing On “Equity in Social Security: In Their Own Words”

The Social Security Subcommittee of the House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing to discuss the problems facing seniors and the vital roll Social Security plays in the well-being of America’s seniors.

A number of Social Security recipients told their stories to the members of the subcommittee and explained the problems they face, as well as their desires for improvements to the program.

Of course, members of the subcommittee also spoke, including the opening remarks of the subcommittee chairman John Larson (D- Conn.).  Here are a few of his comments:

“We are here today because of COVID, and its consequences. Consequences that have worsened the inadequacies that have existed for a long time in our Social Security system.

Today we are going to be hearing from people in their own words about Congress’s neglect to help the very citizens we are sworn to serve.

Now I say neglect, because it’s been 38 years since Congress has done anything to strengthen Social Security and 50 year since we have improved its benefits.

50 years!

Social Security is by far and away the nation’s most successful and popular insurance program.

However, current benefits, as we will learn today, are inadequate, unfair, and in many cases discriminatory, because of systemic economic inequities.

Benefits haven’t kept pace with the cost of living and all changes that have occurred over the last 50 years. …

65 million Americans currently rely on Social Security benefits, yet many still struggle just to make ends meet, to the shame of the nation, millions have worked all their lives, paid into a system, and receive a below poverty line check from Social Security.


Do you know what the poverty line is? It’s $12,880. Who could live on that?

Yet, millions of your fellow Americans, receive below poverty level checks adding to the wealth disparity and further eroding the middle-class.

Look, nobody gets wealthy off of Social Security. It's a subsistence level program.

Here are the facts:

  • 4 in 10 beneficiaries rely on Social Security for the majority of their income.
  • The average retired worker receives just $18,500 year in Social Security benefits.
  • For women, that number is even lower, it’s $16,000 a year.

Let’s be clear about this, this is the responsibility of the Ways and Means Committee, and specifically this subcommittee.

We can no longer kick the can down the road.”

Chairman Larson also mentioned the Know Your Social Security Act and heralded it as a great bill.  But it hasn’t been reintroduced.  Also, he did not mention his own bill, the Social Security 2100 Act, which he introduced in the previous Congress but has not done so in this Congress.

Congressman Bill Pascrell (D- N.J.) was very blunt when he said that all the talk about fixing Social Security is just platitudes. While both sides of the aisle know it needs to be fixed and say they want to fix it, nothing is really being done.

After the hearing TSCL contacted Chairman Larson’s office to ask why he hasn’t reintroduced his Social Security 2100 bill yet and we look forward to hearing from him about this.  We have been urging him to do so for weeks now and we hope he will do it now.