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Periodic Contributor

Mid term election impact on SS benefits

There are serious talks about curbing SS and MC benefits if the house flips to republicans in upcoming elections.

My question is if indeed the house flips and new measures are taken to curb the benefits, what is the earliest that can go into effect, and whether it also affects existing retirees who are already receiving or about to receive benefits soon? 

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Gold Conversationalist

@PiroozK208293 

I think there is a lot of confusion being sowed on this issue by many people, media, and politicians. The Washington Post recently addressed concerns that Senate Republicans are working to end SS and MC and found this to be untrue.

 

This is not a news or editorial article, but instead falls in their Fact Checker investigative journalism where the WaPo investigates an issue and assigns a "Pinocchio" scale from 1 to 4 "elongated noses" as to how big a whopper the purported facts are.

 

For this investigation in September, 2022 they assigned four "Pinocchio" to the claim that Republican Senators (as a group) wish to decimate SS and MC. And note that the WaPo is not generally considered a partisan Conservative publication...I, as a pretty liberal person, use it as one of my primary sources of news.

 

This article should be available to the public and not behind a "paywall". This gives a good overview of current situation with SS and MC: see https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/27/false-claim-that-senate-republicans-plan-end-soci...

 

Of course, SS (and likely MC as well) has definite funding issues. The SSA itself has been broadcasting this for years that benefits will be cut, by law, once the SS trust fund is depleted in a dozen or so years...unless changes are made to current law. This topic has been discussed in many threads in this Social Security forum, you may wish to read through some of these. The threads often contain a lot of misunderstandings, etc, but there are some posters who have a great deal of understanding of the issues involved: current laws, ramifications of current laws as we approach that date of 12 years from now, and what ideas are in play to put things on a firmer basis. In some ways this is like the situation of 40 years ago when under President Reagan's terms the rules for SS were put on a firmer ground. Now we're at the point where this needs to be done again.


 

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Bronze Conversationalist

@PiroozK208293 As I understand the SS Programs (i.e., Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) and Medicare), it will take more than the House flipping to affect changes. Congress which is both the House and Senate have to agree upon any change/amendment and the President must sign such change/amendment into law. The House has 435 Representatives and uses majority voting. So, 218 Representatives must vote for the change/amendment. The Senate has 100 Senators and uses 3/5 voting. So, 60 Senators must vote for the change/amendment. And, if any proposed legislation is agreed upon by the House and Senate (Congress), the President must sign into Law. As you can see, this procedure is no easy task. However, certain folks are stating that this is easy to do and can be accomplished by just Republicans. In my opinion, they are trying to instill fear with the voters. Most folks realize that changes need to be made to the SS Program including Medicare. As @ffred pointed out, we had to accept the changes that were legislated in 1983 when the SS Trust was nearly depleted. In 1993, we had to accept the 85% threshold for Federal Income Tax (FIT) in 1993. More and more SS Beneficiaries are affected by both the 50% and 85% FIT repayment of SS Benefits. For the folks that do not understand the 85% threshold, it is an additional method for funding Medicare if your adjusted income exceeds $34K (single) $44K (Married). Essentially, you receive SS benefits. However, if you exceed the threshold, you pay SS back via FIT. FYI, a 50% threshold was established in 1983 wherein if you exceed that threshold, you pay SS back via FIT. However, the FIT obtained by the 50% threshold is transferred from the Treasury to the SS Trust (OASDI). The additional FIT from the 85% threshold is transferred from the Treasury to the SS Trust (Medicare). These FIT calculations are increasing every year. I've read that approximately 56% of SS Beneficiaries are repaying SS via the FIT scheme at the 50% and 85% thresholds. These are SS Benefit cuts. I am guessing that we may see more of this type of SS benefit cuts inasmuch as it focuses on aggregate adjusted income rather than just the amount of SS Benefits. Because the SS Program has a revenue issue, I am guessing that FICA rates will increase as well. .      

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Newbie

I fact checked the Democrats claims that Republicans plan to "gut" Social Security. These claims are exaggerated to say the least. While some Republican members and candidates have spoken of reducing benefits to balance the budget, this statement is no more honest than the Derms claims of doom and destruction. I for one am so tired of both parties. I am also saddened and disappointed that many Americans are taking the bait by fighting with each other both Left and Right. How Americans can't see that by keeping us squabbling our leaders continue to enrich and empower themselves unfettered by the people holding them accountable. I expected us older voters to be above the self serving outlook of the majority of younger voters today. Issues like leaving a planet which future generations of all species can live on, protecting our right to vote with no official having the power to overrule the election results, are a higher and more noble priority than how much things cost. This is not easy for me to do. I subsist on SS of $1036 per month. Did no one else notice that when we Seniors were gaining traction in calling for a living amount in SS benefits, the media suddenly said that SS will be out of money in twelve years? No one alone can survive on $1000 per month. The result is that I have met many Seniors in Alabama who live in shame because they are committing crimes to keep a roof, food and utilities while subsisting on less than is humanly possible in the US today. While I am tired of voting a choice of the lesser evil and view both parties as no longer working for the people, I will say that Blue States have do a  far superior job of caring for the low income elderly in their State. We are a strong group with knowledge and experience. Let's set aside bickering out of loyalty for people who clearly care nothing about us. We need to organize to better our political system by forcing it to work for the people and not themselves.

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Newbie

I forgot to share that SS and Medicare benefits are NOT spent from the US budget. Reducing our benefits will do nothing to balance the budget. Spending tax money to help vulnerable populations rather than on contractors who kickback money to our leaders is a better way to reduce spending if one thinks about it.

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Regular Contributor

I guess we all have to fend for ourselves.  That is probably why my kids are 4th generation Univeristy graduates, and beyond, with in demand employment and saving for their future and not letting anyone get in their way.  They are young with a brain to think on their own.  Instill the values at a young age, and the results are amazing. Grateful every day!!

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Bronze Conversationalist

@PiroozK208293 As I understand the SS Programs (i.e., Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) and Medicare), it will take more than the House flipping to affect changes. Congress which is both the House and Senate have to agree upon any change/amendment and the President must sign such change/amendment into law. The House has 435 Representatives and uses majority voting. So, 218 Representatives must vote for the change/amendment. The Senate has 100 Senators and uses 3/5 voting. So, 60 Senators must vote for the change/amendment. And, if any proposed legislation is agreed upon by the House and Senate (Congress), the President must sign into Law. As you can see, this procedure is no easy task. However, certain folks are stating that this is easy to do and can be accomplished by just Republicans. In my opinion, they are trying to instill fear with the voters. Most folks realize that changes need to be made to the SS Program including Medicare. As @ffred pointed out, we had to accept the changes that were legislated in 1983 when the SS Trust was nearly depleted. In 1993, we had to accept the 85% threshold for Federal Income Tax (FIT) in 1993. More and more SS Beneficiaries are affected by both the 50% and 85% FIT repayment of SS Benefits. For the folks that do not understand the 85% threshold, it is an additional method for funding Medicare if your adjusted income exceeds $34K (single) $44K (Married). Essentially, you receive SS benefits. However, if you exceed the threshold, you pay SS back via FIT. FYI, a 50% threshold was established in 1983 wherein if you exceed that threshold, you pay SS back via FIT. However, the FIT obtained by the 50% threshold is transferred from the Treasury to the SS Trust (OASDI). The additional FIT from the 85% threshold is transferred from the Treasury to the SS Trust (Medicare). These FIT calculations are increasing every year. I've read that approximately 56% of SS Beneficiaries are repaying SS via the FIT scheme at the 50% and 85% thresholds. These are SS Benefit cuts. I am guessing that we may see more of this type of SS benefit cuts inasmuch as it focuses on aggregate adjusted income rather than just the amount of SS Benefits. Because the SS Program has a revenue issue, I am guessing that FICA rates will increase as well. .      

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Trusted Contributor

Sadly, there is most certainly cause for concern regarding the fate of "entitlement" programs under a predominantly republican administration.  What form changes to the programs would take, of course, is unknown but AARP and its members should remain vigilant of closed committee recommendations should a republican administration take power in 2022 and 2024.

 

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Social Butterfly

Oh gosh, Don’t worry, ha ha there’s no plan to sunset social security as a government entity.

 

Well.., except for a couple of republican Senators have proposed spending cuts and changing eligibility to both Social Security and Medicare. And when asked about these proposals republicans have said they would not “predetermine” whether SS and Medicare cuts would be part of future debt-limit negotiations.

 

There are several articles on the net that write about these republican proposals to cut these programs.

 

Next time Jo Ann sends me an advocacy letter asking me to contact my elected representatives about any anticipated cuts to social security and/or Medicare, I’m going to tell her relax. There’s no problem, we’ve got a solution and then I’ll point her to this thread.

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Regular Contributor

Social Security has one solution for the younger people, start saving early and often, and contribute to the 401K at work.  You will have plenty to retire on by retirement age. Most people retiring at this point should have plenty to live on if they had discipline.

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Gold Conversationalist

@BarbaraK881968    Thanks. That seems to be the very same advice i seem to have picked up as a kid in the 1950’s. It was good then. Still true now.

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Regular Social Butterfly

This is so sad to me; I've wondered since first being eligible to vote in '72 WHY is everything "party- centric". Personally, I've voted for the person and their values and performance on issues.

 

I think this has become MORE party-centric and that, imho, is disturbing. Let's hope for more conscience performance going forward, rather than egocentric desire of candidates?

 

#StaySafe


#VegasStrong
Phil Harris, actor and showman, to John Fogerty of CCR: “If I’d known I’d live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
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Gold Conversationalist

@PiroozK208293 

I think there is a lot of confusion being sowed on this issue by many people, media, and politicians. The Washington Post recently addressed concerns that Senate Republicans are working to end SS and MC and found this to be untrue.

 

This is not a news or editorial article, but instead falls in their Fact Checker investigative journalism where the WaPo investigates an issue and assigns a "Pinocchio" scale from 1 to 4 "elongated noses" as to how big a whopper the purported facts are.

 

For this investigation in September, 2022 they assigned four "Pinocchio" to the claim that Republican Senators (as a group) wish to decimate SS and MC. And note that the WaPo is not generally considered a partisan Conservative publication...I, as a pretty liberal person, use it as one of my primary sources of news.

 

This article should be available to the public and not behind a "paywall". This gives a good overview of current situation with SS and MC: see https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/27/false-claim-that-senate-republicans-plan-end-soci...

 

Of course, SS (and likely MC as well) has definite funding issues. The SSA itself has been broadcasting this for years that benefits will be cut, by law, once the SS trust fund is depleted in a dozen or so years...unless changes are made to current law. This topic has been discussed in many threads in this Social Security forum, you may wish to read through some of these. The threads often contain a lot of misunderstandings, etc, but there are some posters who have a great deal of understanding of the issues involved: current laws, ramifications of current laws as we approach that date of 12 years from now, and what ideas are in play to put things on a firmer basis. In some ways this is like the situation of 40 years ago when under President Reagan's terms the rules for SS were put on a firmer ground. Now we're at the point where this needs to be done again.


 

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Periodic Contributor

Thank you for your insightful response. I also am aware of misinformation campaigns around election cycles and like yourself do find WP as a reliable source, and in fact was a subscriber before. Unfortunately the article is behind a paywall . I'll take your suggestion and educate myself by browsing thru relevant subjects in this forum. 

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Gold Conversationalist

@PiroozK208293 

As a subscriber I can 'gift' 10 articles per month. Hopefully this link will work for you to get beyond the paywall.   https://wapo.st/3sVKkBX

(it works for me in browsers where I'm not logged into the Post. So if the link doesn't work there may be some other issue at play)

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Periodic Contributor

It worked. Thank you

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