SACRAMENTO – Senator Scott Wilk, representing the 21st Senate District, is warning individuals turning 60 this year they can expect a dramatic hit to their Social Security (S.S) benefits due to the COVID-19 related economic collapse unless Congress takes action to fix this glitch in the SS calculation formula. Wilk has introduced Senate Resolution (SR) 89, urging the federal government to protect benefits promised to these individuals by immediately passing a correction.
Social Security benefits are calculated based on an individual’s earning history and the aggregate economy-wide wages in the year a person turns 60, regardless of retirement age. On average, those born in 1960 can expect a lifetime SS loss of $45,859 dollars simply because they turned 60 during the catastrophic economic fallout caused by this year’s pandemic.
“Unless this is fixed, Americans turning 60 years old in 2020 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. “Retirees across the nation rely on Social Security for things like: food, rent, medication, medical care, and transportation. It would be incredibly unfair to leave them high and dry so close to retirement when there are fixes available.”
With nearly 50 million Americans out of work due to COVID-19 and subsequent shut downs, aggregate wage levels have plummeted. This means a significant decline in social security benefits for future retirees who just so happen to turn 60 in 2020. These retirees are expected to lose roughly $2,500 annually or, on average, $45,859 over the course of their retirement.
Senator Wilk has proposed a couple of reasonable solutions for Congress to enact. The first would be to base social security benefits calculated in 2020 off of only first quarter earnings, or wages paid before the pandemic took hold. The second, and equally viable, solution would be to base social security benefits for those turning 60 this year off of 2019 earnings.
“The solution isn’t complicated, it’s simply a matter of doing what’s right. COVID-19 shouldn’t penalize a retiree for the rest of his/her life,” said Wilk. “These individuals have paid into this system for decades, and Congress must ensure it keeps our nation’s promise to those who have paid their dues.”