On the Congressional Front…
The 114th Congress has seen a number of Social Security-related bills recently. We will examine several of these bills here.
- The Social Security Fraud and Error Prevention Act: Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Xavier Becerra (D-CA) introduced this bill, which was designed to reduce fraud. The bill provides secure annual funding for program integrity measures, which include Continuing Disability Reviews, SSI redeterminations, and the establishment of a Cooperative Disability Investigation Unit in each state. The bill also requires the Social Security Administration (SSA) to analyze a handful of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decisions prior to effectuation and report its findings to Congress. Finally, the bill increases civil and criminal penalties for various types of Social Security fraud.
- The Social Security 2100 Act: Introduced by House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Member John Larson (D-CT), this bill would raise benefit amounts, make some cost of living adjustments, and establish a minimum benefit level for low-income workers. In order to fund these changes, Social Security payroll taxes would be imposed on those earning above $400,000 a year, and the bill would institute a slow increase in the Social Security tax rate as of 2018, bringing the rate to 7.65% by 2084 (the current rate is 6.2%). This bill would ensure the solvency of the Disability Insurance Trust Fund through 2025 by reallocating funds from the Old Age and Survivors Trust Fund.
- Social Security and Marriage Equality (SAME) Act: This legislation would allow legally married, same-sex couples who now live in a state that does not recognize their marriage, to be treated as married regardless. This would also apply to same-sex couples living abroad, so long as their marriage has been legally recognized in at least one state’s courts. Versions of this bill exist in both the House and the Senate.
- Huntington’s Disease Parity Act: This bill, which has bipartisan support, would require the SSA to revise and expand several listings related to Huntington’s Disease to, among other things, include diagnostic and evaluative guidelines for juvenile and adult onset versions of the condition. It would also do away with Medicare’s 24-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries with Huntington’s.