Ask The Advisor February 2021
This week, lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill following a week-long holiday recess. They have just one week to reach a deal to fund most of the federal government past Friday, December 7th. Should they fail to reach an agreement before then, part of the federal government will shut down like it did earlier this year. .Indeed, the Social Security Administration does not "promise" a specific amount of benefits, but they do not promise to replace a specific percentage of pre-retirement earnings either. Both benefit amounts and "replacement rates" can change at any time if Congress and the Social Security Administration deem it necessary. Prior to the 1977 changes, the replacement rate was not a stable percentage. For people who retired under the 1972-73 flawed formula (those born 1913 through 1916), replacement rates grew from 39% to a high of 54%. The new benefit formula led to a lower, more stable replacement rate of about 43%, as well as lower benefits. .Why ban the use of earnings from unauthorized work to determine Social Security benefits? Under current law Social Security uses all earnings to calculate Social Security benefits. That means earnings of unauthorized immigrants from jobs worked under invalid and fraudulent Social Security numbers (SSN) can be used both to qualify for benefits and for the calculation of the initial retirement benefit. There is no official published data on the amount of wages on file attributable to aliens working without authorization, but the Social Security Administration maintains an earnings suspense file that represents an estimated 3.5 billion in wages from 2000 through 2010, most of it believed to be attributable to illegal workers. Under immigration reform, that could mean a huge new liability for Social Security in the future, triggering more rounds of cuts and higher taxes. … Continued
Q December 2016
This issue has just popped up and TSCL will be in contact with members of Congress to do all we can to prevent these looming cuts and we will keep you advised as to how things are going. .Second, three new cosponsors signed on to the Social Security Expansion Act (H.R. 1114), bringing the total up to thirty-six. The new cosponsors are Representative Robert Brady (PA-1), Representative Albio Sires (NJ-8), and Representative Tim Ryan (OH-13). If adopted, H.R. 1114 would enhance Social Security benefits by basing COLAs on the CPI-E, increasing monthly benefits by around , improving the Special Minimum Benefit, applying the payroll tax to income above 0,000, and applying a 6.2 percent tax on investment income for wealthy individuals. .The changes closed two claiming tactics known as "file and suspend" and "restricted application for spousal benefits." The claiming strategies have made it possible for both members of a couple who are 66 or older to delay claiming Social Security based on their own earnings records, in order to increase payments, while at the same time one spouse receives a spousal benefit. Alicia Munnell of The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College estimates the changes would save .5 billion per year — a potential cost that would grow over time. … Continued
Five Bills Gain Support .Obamacare is not the first government program in which major implementation glitches had disastrous consequences for large numbers of beneficiaries. In 1977 changes that Congress made to the Social Security benefit formula created a major inequity in benefits that cost retirees tens of thousands of dollars in Social Security benefits over their lifetimes. The seniors affected are among the oldest and most vulnerable today. Born during 1917 through 1926, and known as "Notch Babies," they received substantially lower benefits than other seniors close to them in age with almost identical work and earnings records. The name refers to the plunging "V" notch when benefits of Notch Babies are charted on a graph. .Chen cited two international flights from earlier stages of the pandemic where infection rates varied depending on mask use. On the first flight, no passengers were wearing masks, and a single passenger infected 14 people as the plane traveled from London to Hanoi, Vietnam. On the second flight, from Singapore to Hangzhou in China, all passengers were wearing face masks. Although 15 passengers were Wuhan residents with either suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, the only man infected en route had loosened his mask mid-flight and had been sitting close to four Wuhan residents who later tested positive for the virus. .With it looking increasingly likely that Social Security beneficiaries will receive the highest COLA in seven years —about 3.3% in 2019 — proponents of "chaining" the COLA are likely to try to argue that the COLA under current law overpays recipients. Proponents of using the chained consumer price index to calculate the COLA claim that the chained consumer price index (CPI) is more "accurate" in calculating the COLA because it takes into account how people substitute other items when prices change. .New Virus Relief Bill Could Affect Social Security and Medicare .It's do or die time for Congress. Unless they can pass a federal government funding bill in the next 10 days the government will shut down on October And those 10 days are not all working days unless they decide to work through next weekend. .Get the Revised Retirement Newsletter .Medicare's therapy cap on rehabilitation services, such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, has a long and sordid history in Washington D.C. The therapy cap sought to keep the Medicare budget under control but often hurt patients who need care after traumatic medical events. In practice, this cap limits access to Medicare - covered rehabilitation services. Patients are faced with either footing the bill for additional expensive care out of their own pocket or purchasing additional supplementary coverage if they can afford it. .The extra time was needed because although both houses of Congress were finally able to pass the needed legislation, the bill was nearly 5,600 pages in length. It is probable that no member of Congress actually read the entire bill and likely very few Congressional staff members read it either.