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CONGRESSMAN ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA From American Samoa U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.


NEWS RELEASE March 1, 2000


Today, the House of Representatives approved a bill that repeals the earnings test for Social Security beneficiaries between the ages of 65 and 69.

The earnings limit originated in the 1930's and it remains despite the vast changes in the economy and the lives of senior citizens that have taken place over the last 60 years.

Under current law, seniors who claim Social Security benefits before they reach 69 are subject to a reduction in benefits if they continue to work. For seniors 65 to 69, benefits are reduced by $1 for every $3 that their earnings exceed the limit -- $17,000 in 2000. The bill adopted today would repeal this limit entirely, effective immediately.

"The Senior Citizens Freedom to Work act would help over 750,000 senior citizens nationwide who are being penalized for working," Congressman Faleomavaega said. "It makes no sense to penalize senior citizens for participating in the workforce. People remain healthy and vigorous longer than they did in the 1930's and it makes sense to repeal this obsolete and punitive limit.

"I have supported raising the limit in past years and support repealing it now. I also believe that it is important to consider it as part of a broader plan -- one that uses the opportunity of a surplus to extend the life of Social Security and Medicare and pay down the debt," continued the Congressman.

"Today, we took the first step towards strengthening retirement security for all seniors. But this step was just the start of what we must do in order to put Social Security on a firm financial footing well into this century," he concluded.

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