July 13, 2020

The Honorable John Larson
U.S. House of Representatives
1501 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20515

Dear Chairman Larson,

On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I am writing to endorse your bill, H.R. 7499, the COVID-19 Correction and Equity Act.

H.R. 7499 repairs a glitch in current law which, if unchecked, would result in a sizeable “notch” in retirement income for individuals born in 1960.  Social Security benefits are calculated according to a formula that incorporates the average wage for the year that beneficiaries reach 60 years of age.  Workers born in 1960 will have their benefits determined according to the average wage for 2020, which will be lower than usual due to the COVID recession. The average beneficiary would take a $2,000 annual cut in their future Social Security benefits – and not just once, but for life, and we know that tomorrow’s retirees will depend even more on Social Security than the current generation of seniors.

The COVID-19 Correction and Equity Act would spare workers turning 60 this year from a painful and permanent benefit cut.  Americans should not be deprived tens of thousands of dollars in retirement income simply because they were born in the wrong year. The COVID-19 Correction and Equity Act offers a commonsense fix to an unintended consequence of the Social Security law.

Your bill corrects this problem by ensuring that the Average Wage Index (for Social Security’s purposes) never drops below the previous year’s level.

In addition to repairing the “notch,” H.R. 7499 would make temporary improvements to Social Security that would help ease the financial pain of the COVID crisis for retirees, people with disabilities and survivors, including:

  • An increase of benefits by 2 percent;
  • An increase of the threshold to 125 percent of the poverty level for the special minimum benefit, lifting more lifelong workers out of poverty;
  • A reduction in the taxation on benefits for lower-middle income beneficiaries who are struggling to provide for themselves and their families.

H.R. 7499 offers a commonsense fix to an unintended consequence of Social Security law and includes a broad array of benefit improvements that will prove to be especially helpful to women and those in communities of color who have been hardest hit by the COVID pandemic.

On behalf of the National Committee, I am pleased to endorse the COVID-19 Correction and Equity Act.  We thank you for your leadership and we will work with you to ensure that this crucial legislation becomes law.

Sincerely,

Max Richtman
President and CEO