Social Security chief cautions against increasing retirement age following GOP suggestion

Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner Martin O’Malley cautioned against the detrimental impact of raising the retirement age on blue-collar workers. This statement came in response to the Republican Study Committee (RSC) releasing a proposal to increase the retirement age.

The Republican Study Committee (RSC), representing around 80 percent of House Republicans, unveiled its budget proposal on Wednesday. As part of their plan, they suggested raising the age for Social Security eligibility to reflect the growing life expectancy, although they did not provide specific details. Currently, the full retirement age for the program stands at 67.

During a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Thursday, Martin O’Malley emphasized the desire of Americans to see their government strengthen and expand Social Security, rather than making cuts, reducing its scope, or compromising its customer service.

He cautioned against raising the age, emphasizing the importance of considering individuals who have dedicated their lives to strenuous labor only to have their lives cut short.

Democratic lawmakers strongly criticized the budget proposal put forth by the RSC.

“I personally believe that it is unfair to expect Americans to continue working until they are unable to do so,” expressed Representative Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.).

According to Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), the underfunding of the Social Security Administration (SSA) should be seen as a direct attack on hard-working Americans and their rightful benefits. He emphasized that these benefits are not entitlements, but rather something that individuals have earned through their contributions.

During the hearing, Republicans mostly steered clear of the topic.

According to the RSC proposal, President Biden had previously advocated for increasing the age for Social Security benefits from 65 to 67 during his time as a senator in the 1980s. The proposal highlighted the urgency for action on Social Security, as current projections suggest that the program will become insolvent within the next decade if no changes are made.

According to the RSC proposal, Congress has a moral and practical obligation to address the problems with Social Security as insolvency approaches in the 10-year budget window.

To ensure the program’s full funding, Biden has put forth a proposal to increase payroll taxes for individuals earning over $400,000.

O’Malley also voiced his support for Biden’s proposal to provide 12 weeks of guaranteed paid leave for lower-paid workers.

“It’s unacceptable that even though we are one of the most advanced economies globally, we are among the few countries that do not provide paid family leave,” he expressed his concern.

In December, Biden selected O’Malley, who previously served as the governor of Maryland, to be the commissioner of Social Security.

Biden is proposing a $1.3 billion increase in SSA’s discretionary budget, bringing it to $15.4 billion. The aim is to address the administrative challenges faced by the agency, including staff retention and a backlog in disability status applications.

According to O’Malley, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has not had a budget hearing from Congress in the past 9 years. This lack of attention has resulted in a decline in the quality of service provided by the SSA.

O’Malley urged the committee to approve President Biden’s proposed investment in the SSA, describing it as “a significant stride in the right direction.”

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MBS Staff
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