Congress Urged Not to Remedy ‘Notch Baby’ Retirees’ Problem

Associated Press

The former chief actuary of the Social Security System said today that raising the benefits paid to “notch babies"--millions of Americans born from 1917 through 1921 who complain they have been treated unfairly--would itself be an inequity.

Robert J. Myers, generally acknowledged as the nation’s utmost authority on Social Security, told Congress it should not pass legislation to redress such complaints.

The multibillion-dollar problem, a side-effect of major Social Security bills in 1972 and 1977, refers to a situation in which two retirees who worked the same number of years for the same wages can receive different Social Security benefits just because they were born a year or two apart.

There are an estimated 7 million “notch babies.”


Myers, who chaired a private panel created to examine the problem, told the Senate Finance subcommittee on Social Security:

“The real problem . . . is that those persons who were born before 1917 (and) who worked well beyond age 62 after 1978 receive undue windfalls. Those born after 1916 are equitably treated, consistent with the intent of Congress, and receive proper benefit amounts.”

Offers Rationale

Myers said there was no reason “why younger workers should, over the years, pay more taxes to provide windfall benefits to this group.”

And he said that, while “there is a case for reducing . . . the windfall benefits for some persons born before 1917, this would not now be equitable.”