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Senator Warren proposes $200 a month increase in Social Security benefits

Written by Diane Archer

Senator Elizabeth Warren just proposed a $200 a month increase in Social Security benefits in order to help ensure people have decent retirement income. Warren has the boldest proposal yet for ensuring that older adults live comfortably in retirement. In stark contrast, President Trump and his Republican allies plan to slash Social Security benefits.

Warren’s proposal is based on the reality that rising health care, education, child care and housing costs, coupled with near stagnant wages, has made it very hard for people to save for retirement. And pensions are disappearing. Most Americans lack retirement security.

Today, Social Security benefits are quite small. The average monthly check is $1,354. Social Security only covers about 41 percent of a typical worker’s earnings, which makes it hard to live in comfort in retirement. Between having to pay for housing and high health care costs, even with Medicare, a growing number of older adults are impoverished in old age. About 7.2 million live in poverty.

Most older adults rely heavily on Social Security. One in two married older adults depend upon Social Security for about half of their income. One in five married older adults depend upon Social Security for 90 percent of their income.

Single older adults depend even more heavily than married older adults on Social Security. Seven in ten single older adults depend upon Social Security for half of their income. And 45 percent of them depend upon Social Security for 90 percent of their income.

Black, Latinx and Asian Pacific Islander older adults rely still more heavily on Social Security. About one in three black older adults, four in ten Latinx older adults, and one in four Asian Pacific Islanders depend entirely upon Social Security for their income.

We need to raise Social Security benefits. Wealthy Americans–Americans earning in the top 2 percent–need to contribute their fair share to Social Security. In addition to raising Social Security benefits by $200 a month for everyone currently receiving benefits and all future recipients, Warren proposes increasing benefits further for people with low incomes and public-sector workers.

Warren’s plan would shrink the number of older adults living in poverty dramatically, down to 2.3 million. It would increase average Social Security benefits by 25 percent for people with income in the bottom 50 percent. As important, it would reduce the deficit by more than $1 trillion over ten years.

How is it paid for? Warren proposes that the top two percent of income earners pay their “fair share” for this expansion in Social Security benefits. Their contribution would also  keep the Social Security Trust Fund strong for an additional 20 years.

To see what Warren’s plan would mean for your Social Security check now or down the road, click here. And, please let Congress know that you support expanding Social Security, sign this petition.

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11 Comments

  • First do no harm. Stop taxing Social Security benefits. What’s the point in collecting more if they are just going to tax it back?

    • Stop taxing it. My husband made $5000 LESS last year but we paid taxes on a higher amount of my SSDI. I already get less than $900/month because I have taxes and Medicare taken out. No use increasing it if I just have to have more taken out for taxes.

  • …increasing SS benefits is a good thing, but the current administration is also looking to change the formula for determining the federal poverty line which will affect many recipients. 200$ will not be much considering the lower line will make SS recipients ineligible for many assistance programmes like EBT/SNAP, State Medicare Savings plans (which cover costs that Medicare doesn’t as well as the monthly premium), and rental assistance. So that 200$ (and more) may easily go *pffft* leaving recipients at a disadvantage.

    Part of this is also related to the blanket poverty line used throughout the country.

    Where the concept of an all inclusive national poverty level fails is it does not take into account regional living costs. For example, what may be considered “poverty” in say Kansas or Alabama is below the “effective” poverty level in an east or west coast city.

    So many SS recipients may actually end up losing than winning.

    This is why we need also Medicare for all which Mrs. Warren seems to be hedging on..

  • How about getting rid GPO/WEP. If you don’t know ,it’s where the Gov. takes 60% of your SS. We who lose it already have pensions. For me I lose $428. a month. GIVE IT BACK !!!!

  • I just worry those of un the edge might lose our financial benefits, especially chronically ill will lose the benefits I know 100% $200 wouldn’t cover it. This is a deep complex situation which needs deep solutions.

  • Increasing a good thing but for those who are on govetnment help with meds and housing electric they will lose it all i already hv by makin 600 more but i never see it rent meds my extra help medicade all gone

  • Before we get all excited, what will the tax be on that and how much of it will we actually see? Thanks to Reagan’s Corporate tax cut they now tax SS benefits

  • Madam Senator,
    I am an HIV Survivor and one of POZ Magazines top 100 in the South in 2106. I must take 2 long bus trips and schlep about 2 miles to the food bank.

    Please do whatever it takes to push this through.

    I remain,

    Your’s in the fight,

    Danny Weaver

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