Robert Roach Jr., president of the Alliance for Retired Americans, testified on June 9 at a Senate Budget Committee hearing focused on expanding Social Security for all beneficiaries. Entitled “Saving Social Security: Expanding Benefits and Demanding the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share or Cutting Benefits and Increasing Retirement Anxiety,” the hearing laid out the case for increasing benefits as millions of seniors struggle to make ends meet. Watch the video of the hearing.
The testimony came on the same day that Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, and other Democratic legislators put forward new Social Security legislation that would increase benefits by $200 per month and extend the system’s solvency past the year 2096 by ensuring that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of Social Security taxes.
Sanders’ legislation, the Social Security Expansion Act, which the Alliance strongly supports and has formally endorsed, addresses the challenges seniors face by:
- Expanding Social Security benefits across the board for current and new beneficiaries by $200 per month, or $2,400 per year.
- Increasing cost-of-living adjustments by adopting the consumer price index for the elderly.
- Updating the special minimum benefit for Social Security recipients by making it easier to qualify, which will help low-income workers stay out of poverty.
“We need improvements because older Americans today are hurting,” said Roach at the hearing. “And I have seen examples for myself firsthand. I have observed on many occasions seniors at the supermarket checkout who had to put food back because the grocery bill was more than they had. Seniors are having to make decisions between food and medicine on a daily basis.”
In addition, the Alliance has endorsed Rep. John Larson’s (Conn.) legislation in the House of Representatives: Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust (H.R. 5723). It also strengthens Social Security and repeals the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset, both of which unfairly claw back the Social Security benefits of workers or their spouses or survivors if they worked for a period of time in jobs not covered by Social Security.