HEARING ADVISORY: Chairman Johnson Announces Hearing on What Workers Need to Know About Social Security as They Plan for Their Retirement

B-318 Rayburn House Office Building at 11:00 AM
July 22, 2014 — Hearing Advisory   

U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security announced today that the Subcommittee will hold an oversight hearing on what workers need to know about Social Security as they plan for their retirement.  The hearing will take place on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 in B-318 Rayburn House Office Building, beginning at 11:00 a.m.

In view of the limited time available to hear witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only.  However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.  A list of invited witnesses will follow.


After paying payroll taxes throughout their lifetimes, workers and their families count on the essential income replacement Social Security provides should they retire, become disabled, or die.  Nine out of ten seniors age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits, which are a major source of income for most seniors.  

Future retirees face far more questions than answers, as according to last year’s Annual Report of the Social Security Board of Trustees, unless Congress acts, revenues will cover only 77 percent of scheduled benefits beginning in 2033.  Worse, revenues will cover only 80 percent of disability benefits beginning in 2016.  These findings will soon be updated in the 2014 Annual Report.

Social Security is central to retirement security, yet Social Security’s complex benefit formula is often confusing to workers and their spouses.  Lifetime benefit amounts can vary based on income, marital status, and life expectancy, as well as when an individual claims benefits, making it difficult for individuals to know when they should retire and the benefit amount they will receive.  In addition to general information on its website, the Social Security Administration makes available online and periodically mails the Social Security Statement with estimated future benefits and also provides a Retirement Estimator on its website to allow users to estimate their benefit amounts.  Even with these tools, few workers know the amount of benefits they can expect to receive from Social Security.   

Further, as workers plan for their retirement security, they should also consider any employer pension they may receive, along with other assets they may accumulate, such as IRAs.  Understanding the portion of retirement income Social Security represents is also important for policymakers as they weigh options to strengthen Social Security.  It is an increasing challenge to comprehensively measure retirement income, since the amount of monthly income derived from retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and IRAs, can vary widely and is often underreported.

In announcing the hearing, Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) stated, “Hardworking Americans are increasingly facing real challenges in being able to achieve a secure retirement.  Not only will Social Security be unable to pay full benefits in 2033 unless Congress acts, but the rules are so complex that workers need help in figuring out their benefits.  Americans want, need, and deserve a Social Security program they can count on and understand.”


The hearing will focus on the financial status of Social Security programs, the factors influencing the benefits paid, the status of Americans’ retirement readiness and how workers can be helped to better plan for their retirement.   


Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, https://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.”  Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Click here to provide a submission for the record.”  Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information. ATTACH your submission as a Word or WordPerfect document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by the close of business on Tuesday, August 12, 2014.  Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721 or (202) 225-3625.


The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.  As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee.  The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines.  Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below.  Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word or WordPerfect format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.

2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased.  All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears.  A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.

The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities.  If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested).  Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.

Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.

SUBCOMMITTEE: Social Security