U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) Wednesday introduced legislation to provide economic relief during the COVID-19 pandemic to seniors who continue working or return to work after claiming Social Security benefits.
“As safe and effective vaccines bring us closer to defeating coronavirus and rebuilding our economy, workers and families across the country are still facing unprecedented challenges,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Older Americans who stayed on the job or returned to work after claiming Social Security have faced the added hardship of seeing their benefits reduced or delayed as a result. By increasing the early retiree earnings limits for two years, the Pandemic Relief for Working Seniors Act would bring much-needed economic relief to seniors in the workforce, including those working out of financial necessity or to help fight COVID-19.”
The Pandemic Relief for Working Seniors Act would temporarily increase the exempt amounts for the Retirement Earnings Test (RET), a penalty on Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) beneficiaries who choose to enter, remain in, or return to the labor force. The modifications would effectively suspend RET penalties for the vast majority of working Social Security recipients for 2020 and 2021. This would provide immediate relief to seniors who must return to work due to financial hardship, as well as those such as health care retirees who return to work to help in the coronavirus response effort.
The full text of the bill is available here.
The Pandemic Relief for Working Seniors Act is supported by the National Taxpayers Union.
“COVID-19 has upended the lives of millions of Americans, and seniors who need to temporarily return to the workforce shouldn’t be hit with a penalty to their Social Security earnings in the process,” said National Taxpayers Union Director of Federal Policy Andrew Lautz. “Congresswoman Walorski’s bill would temporarily increase the early retiree earnings limits for Social Security beneficiaries, enabling working seniors to confidently provide for themselves and their families during an extraordinarily challenging time. National Taxpayers Union is pleased to support this important legislation.”
In 2019, Walorski introduced the Senior Citizens’ Freedom to Work Act to permanently repeal the RET, which affects younger seniors who work after claiming Social Security benefits. In 2000, Congress eliminated the RET for those who are at or above their full retirement age. The Senior Citizens’ Freedom to Work Act would build on that reform by eliminating the earnings penalty for all Social Security OASI beneficiaries
Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee.