BPC Action Applauds New Legislation to Enhance Social Security Claiming in Retirement and Social Security

BPC Action commends Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Chris Coons (D-DE) for leading new legislation that will strengthen Americans’ ability to plan for retirement by providing more transparent and digestible information about claiming Social Security benefits. These bills align with long-proposed recommendations from the Bipartisan Policy Center, first put on the map in 2016 by its Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings and more recently outlined in a 2020 report, How to Help Americans Claim Social Security at the Right Age. In addition, BPC Action lauds the senators’ corresponding letter to the Social Security Administration, which outlines multiple recommendations to further support American retirees. 

At a time when Americans are living longer and access to employer-provided retirement plans remains uneven, Social Security constitutes a key source of insurance against outliving one’s savings. Given its importance, it is critical that Americans have adequate information to understand how claiming Social Security benefits at different ages would affect their financial security throughout retirement. They currently do not. While a large body of evidence confirms that it is financially advantageous for most Americans to wait beyond the age of 62 to claim benefits, 62 remains the most common claiming age, resulting in a loss of significant retirement income. The first of these bills would provide greater clarity for Americans deciding when to claim Social Security benefits by updating the terminology used to describe different claiming ages to better reflect the financial outcomes of each choice. Additionally, the second would require the Social Security Administration to mail regular statements detailing one’s earning history and estimating one’s retirement benefits. 

“Hard-working Americans deserve simple, straightforward information when planning for retirement, especially when it comes to claiming Social Security,” said Michele Stockwell, executive director of BPC Action. “This effort from Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Chris Coons (D-DE) does just that by updating claiming age terms to better reflect their corresponding benefits and distributing Social Security statements to workers throughout their career. We know that the age at which one first claims Social Security benefits drastically impacts the total income they receive over time, and the changes in these bills will ensure that retirees are better informed in their long-term planning and decisions.” 

Social Security is a pillar of our retirement system, and this strong bipartisan effort shows the possibility for both parties to come together to make it work better for the American people. Now is the time for Congress to build on this momentum. BPC Action applauds this legislation and is committed to seeing it enacted into law.