By Amanda Menas
During the coronavirus pandemic, retired educators are hit twice as hard. The virus threatens to ruin both their health and finances. Nearly 2.5 million people dedicated to public service, including many educators, are subject to unfair Social Security penalties when they are already struggling to make ends meet.
Joe Biden has promised to protect all older Americans and their caregivers, setting out plans prior to and at the height of this crisis. The Biden Plan will allow caregivers, many of whom are ineligible to get tax breaks for retirement saving, to make “catch-up” contributions to retirement accounts, even if they’re not earning income in the formal labor market. He also promises to ensure that teachers not eligible for Social Security will begin receiving benefits sooner – rather than the current ten-year period for many teachers.
“A dignified retirement also means having access to affordable health care and support. Too many Americans – and too many older Americans – cannot afford their prescriptions or their long-term care. Their families are faced with saving for their own retirement or taking care of their aging parents,” says Biden.
Here are four more ways Joe Biden will support retired educators:
He will invest in Retirement Benefits
With Social Security Funds starting to decline in 2020, the former vice president supports “raising the payroll tax earnings cap” and taxing the wealthy to help the program. He also supports “letting public sector workers, including teachers who are not eligible for Social Security, to begin receiving pension benefits sooner than the 10 years that many of their plans currently require.” In expanding benefits, he would ensure payments kept recipients above the poverty line, and he would also increase assistance for widows and widowers.
He supports expanding the Affordable Care Act
The former vice president does not support healthcare reform that would “start from scratch and get rid of private insurance.” His plan for expanding access to healthcare would include providing a public option, premium tax credits for working families, and lowering the cost of prescription drugs. He explains that “every American has a right to the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have access to affordable, quality health care.”
He will increase educator pay
In order to support educators in their retirement, the former vice president proposes “tripling federal funding for Title I” and “require districts to use these funds to offer educators competitive salaries.” He believes that “We have to reward teachers. They are the single most important ingredient we have… because the teachers hold the kite strings of the children who will send our national ambitions aloft.”
He will encourage affordability for prescription drugs
As educators age, those with underlying health conditions continue to feel the burden of an underpaid career due to the price gouging of prescription and generic brand drugs. Joe Biden’s plan makes sure that Medicare recipients are not the ones paying for negotiations by big pharmaceutical companies. Instead, he will “impose a tax penalty on drug manufacturers that increase the costs of their brand, biotech or abusively priced generic over the general inflation rate” to make sure the drug corporations are paying instead of the consumer.
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