We need to maintain a strong Social Security program that will provide retirement stability for its participants. With 10,000 baby boomers retiring and beginning to receive Social Security benefits each day, we must have a national conversation about modernizing Social Security that ensures its fiscal solvency.
I do not support cuts to current benefits paid to our seniors which have worked a lifetime to earn. We also need to allow our younger workforce to have the ability to create individual savings accounts that can be inherited by family members. In order to sustain a fiscally strong Social Security for all retiring Americans, we need to implement 21st century solutions to a 20th century program.
Social Security Cost-Of-Living Adjustments (COLA)
Social Security COLA’s are made by calculating percentage changes in the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of one calendar year to the third quarter of the following year. Once an increase is calculated, the COLA goes into effect in December, and the first payout occurs in January of the following year.
On October 13, 2020, the Social Security Administration announced a 1.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security beneficiaries beginning in January 2021 based on changes in the consumer price index (CPI). For more information, please visit the Social Security Administration’s website.
Many seniors rely on their Social Security benefits for daily necessities, like groceries, medicines and gas. I have heard from many seniors who have been frustrated in years when there is little to no Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). To address these concerns and ensure seniors can plan more securely for the future, I introduced H.R.2266, the Certainty for Older Living Americans (COLA) Act, which provides a minimum cost-of-living adjustment threshold to guarantee seniors receive an increase in their benefits each year.
Additionally, I led a letter to the General Accountability Office (GAO) instructing them to issue a report about how various CPIs can be used to more accurately reflect the cost of living for today’s seniors. The GAO issued its report on June 16, 2020, which highlighted the need for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to evaluate the data they use as well as explore other data to improve its indexes. The GAO’s report can be viewed here.
In the past, Social Security surpluses were used to fund other government projects and programs. This behavior is unacceptable and has led to serious problems regarding the future of Social Security. While deficits exist, any future surpluses should be guarded to prevent wasteful spending. In February 2021, I introduced legislation, H.R. 1269, which would protect future surpluses by creating a lockbox that prevents these funds from being spent on other federal programs.
Keep Promises to Seniors
We owe it to Michigan’s seniors to keep our promise of a solvent Social Security Administration. After a lifetime of work and payment into the system, it is only fair to expect what was originally promised. I am resolved to find ways to honor our seniors by keeping the program solvent for their generation and those yet to retire.
Allow Individual Accounts for Young People
If the financial troubles of the past have taught us anything, it should be that we must be responsible for our own retirement planning. We need to reform Social Security so that, while it meets current financial obligations, it allows young workers the freedom to form their own individual savings accounts that they are able to control.
03/26/2021 – Sponsored Legislation: H.R. 2266 COLA Act
02/23/2021 – Sponsored Legislation: H.R. 1269 Social Security and Medicare Lockbox Act
04/10/2018 – Cosponsored Legislation: H.R. 2018, CPI for Seniors Act