WASHINGTON, D.C. — Social Security is a lifeline for millions of Americans, including seniors who rely on it during retirement.
But lawmakers are warning the program is expected to start running low on money for promised benefits in about a decade, and that could mean as much as a 24 percent cut in benefits for beneficiaries.
On Thursday, AARP held a public discussion in Washington D.C. about the future of Social Security, which included input from seniors and lawmakers.
“Any cut unpredictably in ten years is a crisis,” said a beneficiary from Pennsylvania.
Some seniors warned that without Social Security, they may have to get a job in their golden years.
“Do you know anyone that would hire an 83-year-old man?” said Alfred Mason, a Social Security beneficiary from Louisiana.
Our Washington News Bureau spoke with Mason after his public comments.
“It would make a major hole in our budget,” said Mason. “A major, major hole.”
The discussion included two members of Congress who are pushing for bipartisan legislation to address the problem.
Both said they’re frustrated over the inaction by elected leaders.
“We hear a lot of good ideas but how many actually reduce it to a bill, put it in committee, debate it?” said Rep. John Larson (D-CT).
“Doing nothing is endorsing a 24 percent cut for people currently receiving and those who will be receiving in the future,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).
Larson is a sponsor of the Social Security 2100 Act, which increases benefits by 2 percent across the board for beneficiaries and increases benefits for lower-income seniors, among other measures.
A memo from Larson’s office says this would be paid for by changing FICA tax rules.
Cassidy is pushing what’s known as the “Big Idea,” which creates an investment fund separate from Social Security and allows the fund to accrue returns over 70 years.
Seniors like Mason are urging Congress to act as soon as possible.
“This isn’t a Republican, Democrat, independent issue,” said Mason. “This is a people issue.”
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