featured graphic for California State Senator Scott Wilk during COVID-19

Wilk urges Congress to protect retirement benefits for those turning 60 during pandemic

Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) announces the introduction of Senate Joint Resolution 5 (SJR 5), urging the federal government to immediately pass a correction to the Social Security formula to protect benefits for millions of Americans who turned 60 during the pandemic. These individuals can expect a dramatic hit to their Social Security benefits due to the COVID-19 related economic collapse unless Congress takes action to fix a glitch in the Social Security calculation formula.

“Many Americans over 60-years-old have been looking forward to retirement, and spending time with their loved ones. They have been paying into social security their entire lives, with the promise that they would receive the benefits upon retiring to enable them to let them pursue their passions. If this issue is not fixed, Congress is pulling the rug out from under millions of Americans,” noted Wilk. “This year has been hard enough and we should be doing all we can to make their lives easier, not more difficult.”

Social Security calculates benefits based on an individual’s earning history and the aggregate economy-wide wages in the year a person turns 60, regardless of retirement age. The pandemic forced tens of millions of Americans to file for unemployment, which will drive down average wages throughout the economy, resulting in lower than expected benefits for Americans nearing retirement age. On average, those born in 1960 and 1961 can expect a lifetime loss of $45,859 in Social Security benefits because they happened to turn 60 during the catastrophic economic fallout caused by this year’s pandemic.

“Because of this formula, workers turning 60 during the pandemic will be unfairly singled out and punished for the rest of their lives simply because of the year they were born. Many people at this age are near retirement and have already factored in their anticipated Social Security earnings when planning for life after work,” said Wilk. “Congress must fix this—it’s a no-brainer.”

SJR 5 urges Congress to amend the Social Security Average Wage Index (AWI) so that those turning 60 in 2020 or 2021 do not see a reduction in their social security benefits.

This article was released by the Office of Senator Scott Wilk.