Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) introduced the Defend and Save Social Security Act of 2011 (S. 1213). The bill would increase the normal and early retirement ages for Social Security, and reduce annual cost-of-living benefit increases by 1 percent. Due to Social Security’s vital role for people with disabilities, The Arc has opposed proposals to increase the Social Security retirement age or reduce benefits.
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) introduced legislation to improve Social Security for caregivers and widows and widowers with disabilities. H.R. 2290 would allow workers who work part-time or take time off to care for a family member to substitute one-half of the average national annual wages in their lifetime Social Security calculation, for up to 5 years. Currently, because Social Security benefits are based on lifetime earnings, workers who take time off to act as caregivers typically receive lower Social Security benefits when they retire. Rep. Lowey also introduced two bills to increase access to Social Security survivor’s benefits for widows and widowers with disabilities (H.R. 2291 and H.R. 2293).