April 26, 2013
The Honorable Gwen Moore
U.S. House of Representatives
Rayburn House Office Building – Room 2245
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Representative Moore:
On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I am writing to express our strong support for your bill, H.R. 1374, the “Social Security Enhancement and Protection Act of 2013.” Social Security is the central component of most Americans’ retirement plans, with two-thirds of current retirees receiving more than half of their retirement income from the program.
Given the decline in the availability of pensions, both in the private and public sectors, and the erosion of home property values and retirement savings, Social Security will remain central to Americans’ retirement planning, both currently and in the future. This bill is an important step in strengthening Social Security for all Americans.
Your bill makes a number of important improvements to Social Security:
- H.R. 1374 would increase the special minimum benefit that is paid to workers who have spent long careers in relatively low-wage employment. It also recognizes the value of childrearing by allowing credits of up to five years toward the minimum benefit when a parent leaves or reduces participation in the workforce for the purpose of caring for a child under age six. This provision would be especially helpful to women, who are more likely than men to take time out of the paid workforce to raise children.
- The bill would also boost benefits for seniors who have been on the Social Security rolls for a long period of time. A five percent increase later in life would help make sure that seniors’ purchasing power keeps pace with growth in the economy. This boost would be especially valuable to women and disabled beneficiaries, both of whom are likely to receive Social Security for many years.
- H.R. 1374 would also restore Social Security benefits up to age 22 for the children of workers who died or became disabled when their child is enrolled on a full-time basis in college or vocational training. Reinstatement of these benefits would help children who have lost the economic support of a parent obtain the post-secondary education that is so essential to succeed in today’s economy.
- Lastly, the “Social Security Enhancement and Protection Act” would provide additional funding to Social Security to pay for these benefit improvements and extend the life of the Social Security Trust Funds for decades to come without cutting benefits. It would achieve these ends by eliminating the cap on Social Security payroll contributions and by increasing the payroll tax rate by one-twentieth of one percent a year (about 50 cents a week for a worker making $50,000), for six years.
According to estimates made by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Chief Actuary, these fair and reasonable proposals would ensure that Social Security would be able to pay all promised benefits, including the bill’s proposed enhancements through 2068, an additional 35 years.
The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare thanks you for your leadership in developing these proposals and looks forward to working with you to advance these much-needed reforms, as well as additional reforms that restore the financial soundness of Social Security beyond 2068.
With warm regards,
President and CEO