Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced that his Senate Joint Resolution 5, protecting Social Security beneficiaries, has passed off the Assembly floor with unanimous support. This resolution addresses an issue in the Social Security benefits formula, which could cause retirees to receive fewer benefits than anticipated solely due to the widespread economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With inflation at a 40-year high, it is critical we protect Social Security beneficiaries, who face the prospect of losing out on hard-earned benefits. This measure is a no-brainer,” said Wilk.
Social Security benefits are adjusted through the Average Wage Index, which is affected by the total wages and the number of workers in the economy. The pandemic forced tens of millions of Americans to file for unemployment, potentially deflating aggregate wage levels to the point that future retirees turning 60 during the pandemic may receive far fewer benefits than they originally planned.
SJR 5 urges Congress to amend the Social Security Average Wage Index so that those nearing retirement age can plan their future with the confidence that the pandemic-induced halt in economic activity will not affect their expected benefits.
“Inflation hits everyone across the board, and right now, many Californians are dipping into their savings or adding debt on credit cards to pay for food and rent,” Wilk said. “If you are near retirement age, that means you are dipping into the nest egg you were counting on to finance your golden years. Without a fix to this formula, many retirees will have the rug pulled out from under them once they file for Social Security. The past several years have been rough enough, let’s not make it even harder for people so close to retirement.”