Rescue for minimum SS benefit

A last-minute compromise between the House and Senate will almost certainly restore minimum social security benefits to 3 million Americans before Congress closes shop for Christmas, Monitor correspondent Julia Malone reports.

Under a plan worked out by a conference Dec. 14, everyone who qualifies by Jan. 1 will continue to receive the $122-a-month benefit. Recipients, most of them older women, had been in danger of losing the minimum benefit next March unless Congress acted.

''No more Scrooge,'' quipped US Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D) of Missouri. The House and Senate are expected to approve the compromise within the next two days.

A new tax on sick pay would offset most of the cost of the minimum benefit. Except for nuns, anyone qualifying after Jan. 1 would not be entitled to the benefit.

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