Legislative Update Week Ending June 19 2015
The Senior Citizens League is encouraging Congress to take the opportunity now to strengthen Social Security by beefing up the amount of earnings subject to payroll taxes, a tax provision that has widespread public support. The Senior Citizens League is delivering a letter to Congress this week calling for three tax reforms that would strengthen Social Security and provide relief to millions of older Americans. Those reforms include: .TSCL thanks those who donated, and remembers those who fought in World War II. Read one such remembrance, "My Friend Paris" contributed by TSCL member, John Seavers. ."Opting out" of a former employer's coverage on occasion might be able to save you money, but it requires careful cost comparisons and sound guidance. Never make any change without first getting the unbiased advice from a trained Medicare benefits counselor. The service is provided free of charge through your State Health Insurance Program and is available at many local Agencies on Aging. Check your local yellow pages. … Continued
The Medicare Tax That Never Made It To The Medicare Trust Fund 2
As a result of the inadequate funding, both the both the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and the Disability Insurance (DI) programs have been struggling to serve the public. More than one million applicants are currently waiting to hear whether they qualify for DI benefits, and those who have appealed recent rejections must wait 600 days or longer for their cases to be re-heard. In 2017, 10,000 individuals died while waiting on their DI eligibility decisions. While waiting, they had no access to DI benefits or Medicare coverage, which recipients with long-term disabilities can receive after they are enrolled in the program for two years. .Alexandria, VMore than 62.5 million seniors, as well as recipients of other federal benefits, may be at high risk of not receiving any cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) next year, according to a new forecast from The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a nonpartisan seniors organization. Based on the government's most recent inflation data over the past 12 months, growth in the consumer price index is so low that, should the trend continue through the third quarter of the year, inflation would be about 2% lower than the same period last year. "That would mean no COLA would be payable in 2015," says TSCL Chairman, Ed Cates. "Although a lot can happen between now and then," Cates notes, "TSCL anticipates that the buying power of benefits will be impacted." ."Addressing our fiscal challenges will require many tough choices and policy changes—but switching to the chained CPI represents neither. Such a change offers policy makers the rare opportunity to achieve significant savings spread across the entire budget by making a technical improvement to existing policies. As such, across-the-board adoption of the chained CPI should be at the top of the list for any deficit reduction plan or down payment." … Continued
To see if your Members of Congress will be holding town hall meetings during the spring recess, click HERE or call their local offices. You can find contact information HERE. .At Tuesday's committee meeting, Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (WI-1) referred to the board as "unelected bureaucrats that could cut Medicare's payments to doctors and essentially ration care." TSCL shares these concerns about the IPAB – we fear its recommendations could result in increased costs for beneficiaries or decreased access to quality medical care. .Are you the parent or spouse of someone with special needs? Permanent life insurance can make sure a child or spouse will have financial support when you are gone. .While most in Washington acknowledge this dilemma, and House Republicans have put forward a plan to address the issue, our leaders have yet to agree upon a solution to preserve the program for seniors beyond that date, and instead are pitting each other against seniors. .Action on Capitol Hill was slow this week as Members of Congress remained in their home states and districts to prepare for the November 6th election. They are not expected to return to Capitol Hill until after the Veterans Day holiday, on Tuesday, November 13th. TSCL would like to remind you that many Members of Congress will attend local events or hold town hall meetings in the upcoming weeks, giving voters an excellent opportunity to voice their concerns. We encourage you to approach your Senators and Representatives to request their support for fair cost-of-living adjustments and other key issues. .Your responses to our annual Senior Surveys are a key means to helping us convince Congress to move forward on key issues. Please take our 2021 Senior Survey. .Town Hall Question: Many doctors are threatening to stop seeing Medicare patients if the sustainable growth rate formula is not repealed and replaced. What do you feel should be done about this? .Social Security and Medicare benefits are paid for through payroll tax deductions from workers and their employers. Even after starting to receive benefits, close to 56 percent of retirees continue to pay into the programs through income taxes on a portion of their Social Security benefits. Medicare beneficiaries also pay premiums for Part B doctors and hospital outpatient insurance. Both programs are relied upon by tens of millions of older Americans for income and healthcare benefits. "According to the most recent surveys by The Senior Citizens League the public wants their lawmakers to protect these programs, but not by cutting benefits." Johnson notes. ."TSCL's concern is not over taxes collected under valid Social Security numbers," Cates says. "Our concern is over the use of earnings under invalid or fraudulent Social Security numbers to determine benefits," he explains. Earnings reported under invalid numbers most often occur when noncitizens work without legal authorization. But due to a loophole in current law, Social Security uses all earnings to determine benefits, even those from jobs worked under invalid and fraudulent Social Security numbers. Social Security thus pays benefits for the rest of the individual's life that may be based at least in part, on work under invalid Social Security numbers. TSCL believes this policy rewards people for document fraud.