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Social Security

As a trained gerontologist and member of the Expand Social Security Caucus, DeFazio has devoted his career to protecting and expanding programs and benefits vital to seniors. It has always been and continues to be his highest priority to protect Social Security. 

Social Security continues to provide the majority of income for most seniors in the United States, and it provides financial security to millions of disabled workers and children. While the average benefit is slightly more than $18,000 a year, Social Security continues to lift millions of seniors, children, and disabled individuals out of poverty. 

Congressman DeFazio has consistently supported efforts to protect and expand Social Security benefits for seniors and restore the long-term solvency of the program. DeFazio has long opposed privatizing Social Security, which could divert Social Security revenues to risky Wall Street accounts, and he has consistently opposed efforts to cut Social Security. DeFazio believes we have an unsustainable national debt that must be dealt with, but he will not stand for balancing the budget on the backs of seniors. He is also opposed to raising the retirement age or reducing benefits. 

The Social Security Trust Fund has paid every benefit check that has gone out, and projections estimate it will continue to pay 100 percent of benefits through 2034 if no action is taken. Under current law, if the Social Security trust fund runs short, it will only pay 75 percent of current benefits. Thus, if Congress does nothing to address a future shortfall, the program will automatically impose benefit cuts. 

DeFazio has a common-sense and fiscally responsible plan to protect Social Security and expand its benefits. He has introduced legislation, the Social Security Expansion Act, to help seniors and other beneficiaries by expanding benefits, reforming the current cost-of-living formula, and ensuring that full Social Security benefits will be available to future generations. 

Close Tax Loopholes for the Wealthiest Americans

DeFazio's plan would preserve the Social Security Trust Fund by closing a tax loophole so the wealthiest 1.8 percent of Americans finally pay the same rate into Social Security as everyone elseThis would ensure the solvency of Social Security for over 50 years while protecting average American workers – or 98.2 percent of Americans – from any tax increases. 

A Fair Annual Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) for Social Security 

The Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is calculated using an outdated formula based on the cost of consumer products like laptop computers and iPads, as opposed to consumer goods most often purchased by seniors like prescription drugs, housing, food, and other basics. Skyrocketing health care costs are continuing to rise faster than the rate of inflation, and seniors suffer from those increased costs more than younger Americans. In DeFazio’s view, using such a poorly designed COLA formula defies all common sense. 

To address this problem in the short-term, DeFazio would change the COLA formula to one that truly matches increases in seniors’ actual expenses. 

Expand Benefits Across the Board

Despite the success of Social Security, it is clear that too many seniors and other beneficiaries are still struggling to get by. DeFazio believes that we must expand Social Security so that everyone in America can retire with the respect that they have earned and deserve after a lifetime of hard work. That’s why in addition to reforming the COLA formula, DeFazio’s plan would expand Social Security Benefits across-the-board. As a result, Social Security retirement benefits for low-income workers would go up by about $1,300 a year. 

DeFazio’s plan would also help low-income workers stay out of poverty by updating the outdated Special Minimum Benefit formula so that more individuals can qualify. In addition, DeFazio’s plan would restore student benefits up to age 22 for children of disabled or deceased workers. Restoring this program, which was eliminated in 1983, would help educate children of deceased or disabled parents who are full-time students in a college or vocational school. 


More on Social Security

Oct 14, 2020 Press Release

Following the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) announcement of a meager 1.3% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security beneficiaries in 2021, Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and John B. Larson (CT-01) have proposed emergency legislation to increase the 2021 COLA to 3%.

Apr 15, 2020 Press Release

Rep. Peter DeFazio today applauded the Treasury Department and Social Security Administration’s response to calls for automatic COVID-19 economic impact payments to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients.

Apr 3, 2020 Press Release

Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today led more than 120 lawmakers in demanding that Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig, along with Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul and Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie, automatically send stimulus payments to vulnerable seniors, veterans receiving pensions, and individuals with disabilities.

Feb 13, 2019 Press Release

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), along with Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced legislation Wednesday to expand Social Security benefits and strengthen the retirement program for generations to come.

Mar 15, 2018 Press Release

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today introduced two bills that would ensure family members get the full survivors’ benefits they are entitled to after the death of a veteran or Social Security beneficiary.

Feb 16, 2017 Press Release

Congressman Peter DeFazio and Senator Bernie Sanders today introduced joint legislation, the Social Security Expansion Act, to strengthen the Social Security program for future generations on the day that millionaires stop paying into Social Security.

Apr 23, 2015 Press Release

Washington, D.C. –Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today introduced a pair of bills that would protect Social Security trust funds from being diverted to pay for other programs and preserve Social Security benefits for future generations.