Advocates for increasing Social Security retirement benefits, which provide about 34 percent of the income for elderly Americans, oppose Johnson’s plan because of its cuts.
For example, under Johnson’s plan, average middle-income workers would see their annual benefits, calculated in 2015 dollars, drop from $18,576 now to $17,076 in 2030, based on an SSA analysis.
“Not only does the Johnson plan deeply cut benefits, it radically transforms the program so that it would, when fully phased in, no longer be a pension plan replacing wages but rather operate in the manner of a flat, subsistence-level [grant,] which would provide recipients with an amount unrelated to earnings and contributions,” said Nancy Altman, co-director of Social Security Works, which advocates to increase Social Security.
Raising the age to receive full retirement benefits from 67 to 69, as Johnson proposes, also would affect many retirees since most people claim benefits before full retirement age, typically at 62, the earliest age possible. (See chart below.)