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Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson December 17, 2021

Democrats introduce House bill to expand Social Security benefits

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.

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