In recent weeks, many VERIFY readers have reached out to the team with questions about a potential change to Social Security benefits.
Social Security provides people with an income when they retire or can’t work due to disability. Those who are retired can typically start receiving their Social Security benefits as early as age 62.
Social Security payments increased by 8.7%, or about $140 per month for the average recipient, for 2023 due to an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
But could another increase in benefits be on the way? Several VERIFY readers, including Doug, asked if they will see an extra $200 per month in their Social Security checks.
Are Social Security recipients getting an extra $200 per month?
- Social Security Expansion Act bills in the House and Senate
- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
- Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League
- Social Security Expansion Act fact sheet
No, Social Security recipients aren’t getting an extra $200 per month. A bill that was introduced in the House and Senate in 2022 proposed the increased payments, but it didn’t pass.
WHAT WE FOUND
A bill that would have increased Social Security payments by $200 per month was introduced in both the House and Senate in June 2022. But the legislation didn’t pass.
The Social Security Expansion Act included a $200 monthly increase in Social Security benefits for new and existing recipients, separate from the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), according to a fact sheet on the bill. That means recipients would have seen an extra $2,400 per year on average, if the bill had passed.
More from VERIFY: Social Security survivors benefits: Fact Sheet
The legislation as written would have applied this increase to people who receive retirement, disability and survivor benefits, but not those who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Mary Johnson, the Senior Citizens League’s Social Security and Medicare policy analyst, said. SSI is a needs-based program for people with limited income and resources.
The Social Security Expansion Act was referred to various committees in the House and Senate for discussion, which is the first step in the legislative process, but it didn’t pass or even make it to a vote before the 117th Congress officially ended on Jan. 3. That means the bill would need to be reintroduced in 2023.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced in a press release on Feb. 13 that he and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are reintroducing the Social Security Expansion Act in the Senate.
Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Val Hoyle (D. Ore.) are reintroducing the bill in the House, Sanders said.
Congress would still need to pass the legislation before President Biden could sign it into law.