March 01,2000

Finance Committee Chairman Bill Roth Promises Prompt Senate Action to Abolish the Social Security Earnings Limit

WASHINGTON -- Today, the House passed the "Senior Citizens' Freedom to Work Act of 2000." H.R. 5 would repeal the Social Security earnings limit for seniors 65-69. Currently, Social Security beneficiaries between 65 and 69 have their Social Security benefits reduced by $1 for every $3 in earnings over $17,000. Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) today released the following statement on H.R. 5:

"As a long time advocate of abolishing the Social Security earnings limit, I am very pleased with the House's action today in repealing the limit for seniors over 65.

"Abolishing the earnings limit is the first step in preparing Social Security for the 21st century. The earnings limit is a relic of the Great Depression, included as part of the original 1935 Social Security Act as a way to encourage working seniors to retire and open up jobs for younger workers. The earnings test has worked only too well. But today, with the tightest labor market in 30 years, and even tighter labor markets forecast for the coming decades, that rationale is badly outdated. And as Americans live longer, seniors benefit from the choice of improving their financial security by working longer.

"As Chairman of the Finance Committee, I intend for the Senate to act promptly to pass the Social Security earnings limit repeal and get this bill to the President."