Warren’s Plan to Increase Social Security Benefits Amid COVID-19

Democratic Senators have been trying their hardest to secure the financial stability of the American population amid the economic decline of COVID-19. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) have proposed their plan to increase benefits for all Social Security, veterans, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries through the end of 2021 by a monthly increase of $200.

“Increasing Social Security benefits would get money directly to millions of people quickly, delivering immediate relief to Americans at heightened risk during this pandemic and boosting our economy,” said Senator Warren. “Social Security was created to respond to the Great Depression, and expanding it now will ensure this critical program helps us meet the challenge of the current crisis.”

The plan

The Democratic proposal aims to improve the lives of millions of Americans and help our economy stabilize and recover from the national emergency caused by the spread of the coronavirus. 

This plan would give those suffering the most during this pandemic, like those who depend on their SSI checks to eat and take care of their families. Seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities, who have earned this benefit by contributing to Social Security with every paycheck, an additional $4,000 over the next two years.

“Immediately increasing Social Security benefits would put money in the pockets of seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities during these uncertain times,” said Leader Schumer. “Senate Democrats are committed to quickly delivering relief to the millions of Americans bearing the weight of this public health crisis.”

Who will benefit? Short answer, everyone.

Social Security makes up a majority of income for most seniors and older individuals with severe disabilities. In 2019, over 64 million Americans received Social Security checks. The largest group of recipients were retirees that are considered at high risk of contracting coronavirus due to their age. 

Also, researchers have found that increasing Social Security benefits will have an immediate and significant positive impact on the U.S. as a whole. 

There is nearly a 1:1 ratio between an increase in Social Security benefits and an increase in consumer spending, which means increasing these SSI benefits will bring an enormous boost to the economy quickly, which would begin immediately as checks come through. This alone should encourage a bipartisan agreement, for both parties agendas would be pacified.  

Further benefits

The Senators’ plan also protects Social Security recipients from losing access to other assistance programs, such as Meals on Wheels, and has wealthier Americans pay back some of the added benefit with their taxes.  

“Social Security is a lifeline that gives Americans financial security when they need it most,” said Senator Wyden. “Now is the time to bolster Social Security’s time-tested earned benefits so millions of people in need can afford the essentials.”

Democratic Phasing proposal

Senators Warren, Schumer, and Wyden’s proposal is included as part of Senate Democrats’ bold Phase 3 proposal for at least $750 billion to fight COVID-19 and the economic crisis facing every American. 

Senate Democrats’ Phase 3 proposal urges to place essential workers and families first, while ensuring that necessary resources are delivered to address every corner of the public health crisis, including funds to address burgeoning capacity issues at hospitals, child care and education, and more.

Republican Response 

To say that there is bipartisan tension in Congress would be an understatement during this pandemic. The Trump administration is concerned about the impact that the battle against COVID-19 is taking on the nation’s debt

“I think I can speak for our conference by saying we’re not ruling that out, but we think we ought to take a pause here, do a good job of evaluating what we’ve already done,” Senate Majority Leader McConnell said earlier this week regarding a potential second relief bill.

McConnell called for the brakes to be applied to further stimulus measures because of concerns about the federal budget. Nancy Pelosi has other plans, as she is soon to announce her ‘Rooseveltian’ relief package to Congress. The senator has promised House Republicans that the beefed up unemployment benefits enacted earlier this spring “will not be in the next bill.”

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