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“Social Security is not a handout” says Begich: Keep Social Security Solvent, Payments Fair


June 11, 2014

(SitNews) Washington, D. C. - Making good on his commitment to protect and strengthen Social Security, U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) took to the Senate floor today to encourage his colleagues to support three bills that would broaden Social Security benefits, keep Social Security solvent for future generations, and ensure all Americans who pay into Social Security get the benefits they deserve.

The Retirement and Income Security (RAISE) Act, a bill Begich introduced today, would increase Social Security payments for divorced spouses, enhance benefits for widows and widowers, and extend eligibility for children of retired, disabled or deceased workers. The additional benefits included in the RAISE Act would be offset by the application of a 2 percent payroll tax rate on annual earnings over $400,000—an offset that means Social Security will continue to be fully funded.

Begich noted his Social Security Fairness Act would eliminate unfair reductions to Social Security benefits for people who have worked part of their career in “non-covered” jobs – often state or local government or other civil service jobs. These reductions, first implemented in the 1980s in the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset Act, had the unintended consequence of punishing people by reducing benefits they have rightly earned.

“More than 71,000 people in Alaska rely on Social Security. That’s roughly one out of every 10 Alaskans,” said Begich. “Social Security lifts tens of thousands of Alaskans out of poverty – the elderly and especially elderly women. And it pumps more than $1 billion into our economy each year. These bills are a common sense, fiscally responsible way to protect Social Security. As long as I am in Congress, I will fight to make sure Social Security is solvent and available for Americans who earned it.”

“When it comes to fairness, the RAISE Act is a small but important step for seniors, especially older women and for the families of deceased or disabled workers. It makes sure that the modest benefits of Social Security will go to everyone who deserves them,” said Begich.

Begich also highlighted his Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act to extend the solvency of Social Security by lifting the cap on high-income contributions. This year’s income contribution is capped at $117,000.

“My bill would lift the cap and phase out what in effect has become a tax loophole,” said Begich. “Many folks may not realize that higher-income earners only pay Social Security on the first $117,000 of their income. With my bill, millionaires would pay into Social Security all year long – just like the rest of us. This provision would add generations of financial certainty to Social Security.”

Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews

Source of News: 

Office of U.S. Sen. Mark Begich

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