In recent weeks, many VERIFY readers have reached out to the team with questions about a potential change to Social Security benefits.
Social Security provides people with an income when they retire or can’t work due to disability. Those who are retired can typically start receiving their Social Security benefits as early as age 62.
Social Security payments increased by 8.7%, or about $140 per month for the average recipient, in early 2023 due to an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
But could another increase in benefits be on the way? Several VERIFY readers, including John, asked if benefits will increase by $2,400 per year.
Are Social Security recipients getting an extra $2,400 per year?
No, Social Security recipients aren’t getting an extra $2,400 per year. A bill proposing the increase in benefits has not passed.
WHAT WE FOUND
The Social Security Expansion Act included a $200 monthly increase in Social Security benefits for new and existing recipients, separate from the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), according to a fact sheet on the bill. That means recipients would have seen an extra $2,400 per year on average, if the bill had passed.
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The legislation as written would have applied this increase to people who receive retirement, disability and survivor benefits, but not those who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Mary Johnson, the Senior Citizens League’s Social Security and Medicare policy analyst, said. SSI is a needs-based program for people with limited income and resources.
The Social Security Expansion Act was referred to various committees in the House and Senate for discussion, which is the first step in the legislative process, but it didn’t pass or even make it to a vote before the 117th Congress officially ended on Jan. 3.
Since the Social Security Expansion Act didn’t pass in 2022, Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.) reintroduced the legislation in the Senate on Feb. 13, 2023. A fact sheet on the bill says it would increase benefits by $2,400 per year if passed into law.
The reintroduced bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Finance, which hasn’t taken further action.
The representative who sponsored the legislation in the House is no longer in office.