It took 10 months after Joe Biden was inaugurated for Democrats to submit legislation on one of his key promises: to expand and increase Social Security benefits.
On Oct., 26, Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., introduced H.R. 5723, which includes many of the proposals that Biden outlined during his campaign. The measure had attracted 196 co-sponsors by mid-December, all of them Democrats, and on Dec. 7, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing on the measure.
The bill would not only expand benefits but would also address the issue of Social Security's long-term solvency, which is the subject of a separate Biden campaign promise.
Some of the bill's key provisions on benefits are:
- An increase for all beneficiaries — whether they receive retirement, disability or dependent benefits — equivalent to an average of 2% of benefits, to make up for what the bill calls "inadequate" cost-of-living adjustments since 1983
- A new inflation adjustment formula that helps seniors who spend a greater portion of their income on health care and other necessities.
- A new minimum benefit set at 25% above the poverty line that would be adjusted to future wage levels.
- New caregiver credits to keep people from being penalized for taking time out of the workforce to care for children or other dependents.
- Extended eligibility for Social Security dependent benefits for students up to age 26, and for part-time students.
The measure has not formally advanced in the two months since it has been introduced, but its introduction is enough to move this promise to In the Works.