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Kuster celebrates Social Security's 79 years in Peterborough
Congresswoman Annie Kuster cuts a cake for a celebration of Social Security's 79th birthday at the Peterborough Library Thursday morning. (MEGHAN PIERCE/Union Leader Correspondent)
“I just feel very, very strongly about maintaining both Social Security and Medicare for seniors and for disabled Granite Staters who rely on these benefits,” Kuster said. “I feel there are solutions to the issues around solvency. Raising the cap on withholding wages for Social Security and managing the cost of care under Medicare, specifically negotiating volume discounts for prescription benefits. To me these are no-brainers. We should be doing both, and we shouldn’t be talking about eliminating benefits unless and until we’ve taken the very obvious steps that we can to secure the long-term viability of these programs that are working.”
Kuster faces reelection in November.
In 2014, the maximum amount of taxable earnings for Social Security is $117,000.
Steve Gorin, professor of social work from Plymouth State University, and former chairman of the State Committee on Aging, said if that cap is raised to $250,000, it could make the program solvent. By 2023, the Social Security trust fund is expected to run out, Gorin said. Social Security withholdings from working taxpayers would still be coming in, but they would only cover 77 percent of the program’s costs, Gorin said.
“For people who rely on these benefits, it’s very hard to hear the conversation about cutting the benefits because as it is people’s budgets are very tight. The average social security benefit in New Hampshire is $1,100 a month,” Kuster said.
The Social Security Caregiver Credit Act would increase Social Security benefits for qualifying caregivers who spend more than 80 hours per month providing care to their loved ones.
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