Legislative Update June 2019
Nearly 1.5 million teachers and other public servants see their earned Social Security benefits reduced by as much as 40 percent due to the Windfall Elimination Provision. What do you feel should be done about this? .The group of retirees born from 1917 through 1926 (1), who became eligible for retirement benefits immediately after the 1977 law changes, was affected. Those born during the Notch years generally received substantially lower benefits than those paid to retirees born before and after them. When represented on a chart, the disparity in benefits forms a deep "V" notch, hence the name. .But bigger deficit reduction would be possible if Social Security taxes were made more equitable. Under current law, high-income earners — people with earnings higher than Social Security's taxable maximum of 7,000— pay nothing on earnings over that amount. In other words, someone earning ,117,000 pays no Social Security taxes on the one million above 7,000. Yet workers earning less than 7,000 pay Social Security taxes on every dime of their wages. The CBO estimates that simply raising the taxable maximum to 7,500 would bring in 0 billion in new Social Security revenues through 202Taxing all earnings would eliminate up to 90 percent of Social Security's funding problems. … Continued
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(Photo: iStockphoto) .While TSCL supports this first legislative step, more work will be needed in the years ahead to provide greater financial certainty for disabled Social Security recipients. What do you think about the recent legislation and fixes for Social Security disability? Take TSCL's 2016 Senior Survey. .Reduce the size of the initial retirement benefit that new Social Security beneficiaries are scheduled to receive; … Continued
Apply for Medicaid coverage while you wait. Check with a counselor at your local area Agency on Aging or local Medicaid department. Medicaid can take several months to start. .How Does TSCL Project the Social Security COLA? .This week, one new cosponsor, Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (PA-8) signed on to the Public Servant Retirement Protection Act (H.R. 2797), bringing the cosponsor total up to eight. If signed into law, H.R. 2797 would repeal the windfall elimination provision (WEP) from the Social Security Act and establish a new formula for equalizing benefits for those with non-covered earnings. TSCL is very supportive of the Public Servant Retirement Protection Act since it would go a long way in granting dedicated public servants the retirement security they deserve. We were pleased to see one new cosponsor sign on this week, and we hope that support continues to grow in the coming months. .The Board of Trustees for Social Security and Medicare recently released a bombshell of a report that shows this essential health safety net is coming apart at the seams. The report estimates the Medicare trust fund will run dry in 2024, five years earlier than last year's estimate, and went on to explain, "The fund is not adequately financed over the next ten years." In an alternate estimate also released, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Chief Actuary Rick Foster painted an even more dire picture, reporting that Medicare's unfunded obligations could be significantly higher, and long-term costs could dramatically increase from the numbers provided in the Board of Trustee's report. .And, given the unfunded mandates and billions of dollars in regulatory costs from Obamacare – the last attempt at government-controlled healthcare, Medicare-for-all would undoubtedly break the back of at least half of our rural health care providers. .When asked what portion of Social Security benefits retirees spent on healthcare here's how survey participants responded: .First, one new cosponsor – Representative Greg Walden (OR-2) – signed on to the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 1205), bringing the total up to 19If adopted, the Social Security Fairness Act would repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) – two provisions that unfairly reduce the earned Social Security benefits of millions of teachers, police officers, and other state and local government employees each year. .While there is no estimate of how large the cuts would be under the legislation that just passed, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that a previous version of the Covid relief bill would have triggered about billion in cuts to Medicare in fiscal 2022 and between and billion from other mandatory programs. .This week, the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act (S. 2011) from Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) gained one new cosponsor: Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT). If adopted, the bill would require the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare Part D beneficiaries. Its cosponsor total is now up to seven in the Senate.