Swalwell protests against Stark for Social Security benefits being paid to his children | August 24, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

News - August 24, 2012

Swalwell protests against Stark for Social Security benefits being paid to his children

Pleasanton school board member joins Democratic Congressional candidate in criticism of congressman

by Jeb Bing

Congressional candidate Eric Swalwell said that if elected he will support closing a provision in the Social Security law that grants benefits to children of a parent eligible for Social Security, but still working and collecting a salary in excess of the earning cap.

Last week it was reported that some or all of the minor children of Congressman Pete Stark (D-13th) receive Social Security benefits. They are eligible because Stark, at 81 years old, is entitled to Social Security payments in addition to his Congressional salary.

Swalwell said that Stark's $174,000 annual salary precludes him from collecting Social Security payments as he earns more than allowed under the earnings cap in the law. However, his children are still eligible for Social Security benefits because their father is eligible to collect the benefit, even if he makes too much money to collect his own check.

However, Lowell Kepke of the Social Security Regional Public Affairs Office, told the Pleasanton Weekly that it is not correct that high earnings would preclude an 80-year-old from collecting Social Security retirement benefits.

"If an individual is over full retirement age, which would be 65 for an individual who is now 80, and 66 for current retirees, that individual can work and earn without limit and still collect full retirement benefits," Kepke said.

Swalwell also said that in addition to his annual Congressional salary, Congressman Stark, ranking Member of the Ways & Means Committee, is worth an estimated $27 million, making him one of the wealthiest people in Congress, and in the country.

"Every person should receive the benefits to which he or she paid into and is entitled," said Swalwell. "But, just because it's legal, doesn't make it right. The purpose of granting Social Security benefits to children of retirees is to stabilize the family's income, the only income of the family, and ensure the minor children are receiving the necessities they need."

"Clearly, the situation in the Stark household is not the intended purpose of this benefit and he's diverting government money to his kids," Swalwell said.

"If a person is eligible for Social Security but working and earning too much to quality for a benefit check, then I propose closing the loophole that allows his or her children to collect Social Security benefits simply because their father or mother is eligible," Swalwell added. "Minor children should only be allowed to collect Social Security benefits if their parent is collecting benefits earned because they are retired, not working and not earning other income above the earnings cap."

Jamie Hintzke, a member of the Pleasanton school board, an outspoken advocate for low-income children and families, and a Democrat, agreed. She told Swalwell:

"This benefit is intended for children of retired, disabled or dead parents, and to keep them out of poverty and ensure the financial future of the children. For the majority of these children, this is the only source of income in their family. And, at a time when Social Security is more threatened than ever, Democrats lose credibility on an important issue when a senior member of the Ways & Means Committee abuses this loophole."


Posted by Greedy & irresponsible, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 3, 2012 at 11:26 pm

I am appalled at children of employeed parents receiving ?1,500/ mo. It's crap like that causing social security, and in fact, our government to go broke.
Many single parents raise children. Why would having one parent mean you get government money. Insane ! And just because somebody has a later in life baby, shouldn't mean it suddenly becomes a taxpayer problem !! That must be stopped now. IF somebody is truly a poverty case, maybe...but being selfish, irresponsible older parents, shouldn't mean it's MY problem, when I need to be providing my own retirement. It's those leeches on our government that are cousing us problems. Cut it now !

Posted by What's New..., a resident of Downtown
on Sep 4, 2012 at 9:07 am

Stark has been stealing you blind for years ... keep electing him ...

Posted by Are Voters Nuts?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2012 at 9:09 am

Fortney Stark is a senile old crook with a net worth of around $25 million. Since he was a basically a bankrupt banker before he became a Congressman, it is important to ponder on how he became rich as a Congressman. Now the scumbag is drawing Social Security for his kids??? Just how stupid are voters in his district, to keep sending the joker back to Congress, often with over 80% of the vote.

Posted by Greedy & irresponsible, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2012 at 10:02 am

These SocSec abuses must be explored and discussed. So what if there's one parent left after death of the other...maight there be a million dollar, no public record, life insur policy ?? Is the remaining parent a Congressperson or CEO ?
Social Security was created for RETIREMENT, Then electeds started buying votes by adding on 'goodies' thru the years...to OTHER people. Soc Sec has now, in addition, become a welfare program too !
On Suzie Orman last week, I saw a newlywed couple in their 40s receiving OUR Soc Sec for HIS child, because his first wife had DIED ! SO?! These are 2 able bodied 40 yr olds, collecting for his first wife. IF he hadn't remarried, SO??? HE's employed. If he needs help, get welfare, DO NOT SUCK off SENIORS retirement $$.
THE PROGRAM IS BEING USED FOR MANY THINGS TODAY, OTHER THAN RETIREMENT. PROGRAM NEEDS REVIEWED, PUBLICIZED, and RETURNED to it's intended purpose. WHICH at the time it started the AVE age of death was 65...SO they set the age to start receiving at...65..!! Today death is more like 80. With every COL in US, they upped SS. BUT with every life insurance table upping age, cowardly congresspeople did NOT APPROPRIATELY UP age to real time. So Soc Sec today barely covers just seniors who are living longer than the short work history required.
Regardless, there is ZERO reason to give Soc Sec to Stark who MARRIED a student young enough to be his grandchild...Even without Stark, Mom's healthy so, get a job, go on welfare, but NOT suck Soc Sec..NOW. Return Soc Sec program to seniors only....not child care for healthy parents.

Posted by Greedy & irresponsible, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2012 at 11:59 am

So is Swalwell going to campaign that he will work to keep SS for retirees only ? and reclassify& redirect all the other parasites that have been sucking Soc Sec contributions in other directions ??

Posted by starkzacrook, a resident of Downtown
on Sep 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Correct me if I am wrong, but as a member of Congress, Fortney doesn't pay into SS because he has his own elitist pension plan and lifetime health coverage. He apparently worked in the private sector sometime before his 40 year stint in Congress, but now his kids are collecting SS on his behalf? How much did he pay into the system versus how much he's sucking out of it at our expense?

Does anyone defend this sort of abuse? Plenty of people keep voting for this multi-millionaire crooks that are supposed to be our representatives.

Posted by Dave, a resident of Birdland
on Sep 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm

The sad fact is that few people are looking at the dismal record of Pete Stark. He has demonstrated numerous times that he is a dishonest belligerent bully that has scammed the system and his constituents for years. People need to look at his record and throw the bum out of office. No papers will touch him regarding an endorsement, and there is a reason.

Posted by Greedy & irresponsible, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Is Social Security for seniors, or not ??
Has it drifted off course? Are abusers are bleeding the program away fron it's intended purpose?