|Today, the House of Representatives approved a bill
that repeals the earnings test for Social Security beneficiaries between
the ages of 65 and 69. The earnings limit originated in the 1930's
and it remains despite the vast changes in the economy and the lives of
senior citizens that have taken place over the last 60 years.
Under current law, seniors who claim Social Security benefits before
they reach 69 are subject to a reduction in benefits if they continue to
work. For seniors 65 to 69, benefits are reduced by $1 for every
$3 that their earnings exceed the limit - $17,000 in 2000. The bill
adopted today would repeal this limit entirely, effective immediately.
"The Senior Citizens Freedom to Work act would help over 750,000
senior citizens nationwide who are being penalized for working," Congressman
Faleomavaega said. "It makes no sense to penalize senior citizens
for participating in the workforce. People remain healthy and vigorous
longer than they did in the 1930's and it makes sense to repeal this obsolete
and punitive limit.
"I have supported raising the limit in past years and support repealing
it now. I also believe that it is important to consider it as part
of a broader plan - one that uses the opportunity of a surplus to extend
the life of Social Security and Medicare and pay down the debt,” continued
"Today, we took the first step towards strengthening retirement
security for all seniors. But this step was just the start of what
we must do in order to put Social Security on a firm financial footing
well into this century,” he concluded.