• Benefit Bulletin July 2020

    , editor, and Terry Newell, President, Leadership for a Responsible Society .The Additional Child Tax Credit currently amounts to ,000 per child and a filer can receive a refund even if no income tax was withheld or paid. According to the Treasury Inspector General, the average amount per return in 2010 was ,800, but 9,000 taxpayers claimed a total of ,000 or more by filing for previous year tax periods. The following table illustrates the huge growth in payments to illegals. .Despite these known challenges, President Trump recently signed an Executive Order which allows the deferral of payroll taxes, including Medicare taxes, if the taxpayer is affected by a federally-declared emergency like the coronavirus. The Executive Order doesn't apply to all workers, only those earning up to 0,000 annually. The average worker will be able to put off paying just under 0 for the term of the deferral, September 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020, or about per week. The move is only temporary, and workers will be required to repay the taxes next year. … Continued

  • Legislative Update July 2021

    In his opening statement, Congressman Buddy Carter (GA-1) – the sole pharmacist in Congress – said, "I'm disgusted that we're here today to talk about drug price increases … I know free market principles are the best way to provide quality, affordable health care to the American people. But what was done here was different. Perverse business practices were employed to exploit a patient group trying to do nothing more than to extend their lives … I'll tell you that you can meet your shareholders' needs, that you can meet your board's needs, and still take care of the American public." .New coronavirus legislation in the works .Social Security Notch Reform – Working towards benefit equality for older Americans. … Continued

Of the more than 1,200 people who participated, 766 sent in comments. Most described their personal challenges in meeting their healthcare expenses. In what may be a sign of the times, a surprising number indicated they are working far longer than they ever thought they would, even into their late 70's and 80's, because they don't have enough to live on after paying their healthcare costs. Even seniors who do have good Medicare supplemental and drug coverage described how they keep costs in check by asking their doctor to prescribe generics, filling prescriptions for 90 days, splitting pills, and sticking to preferred pharmacies. .The IRS also issued similar warnings about coronavirus imposter scams related to stimulus checks, overdue payments, filing extensions and other tax related topics. .To learn more and to participate in TSCL surveys and polls, visit . .Capping the Part D out-of-pocket spending requirement is a key provision of the bi-partisan Senate drug bill, "Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2019" (S.2543). "Several of the provisions of this bill appear to have broad support with Medicare beneficiaries," notes Mary Johnson, a Medicare and Social Security policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. The new survey found widespread support among survey participants for capping Medicare Part D out-of-pocket requirements at no more than 0 per month (,000) per year. About 36 percent of survey participants reported spending up to 0 per month on prescriptions in 2019, and another 21 percent spent more than that. .We are still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-1After you've been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until we know more. .The Guaranteed 3 Percent COLA Act (H.R. 991) from Congressman Eliot Engel (NY-16) also gained one new cosponsor this week: Congressman Andre Carson (IN-7). If adopted, it would base the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) on the more accurate Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPI-E), and it would guarantee an annual benefit increase of at least 3 percent. The bill now has six cosponsors in the House. .At a seven-hour Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano praised the Gang of Eight for their comprehensive plan, while members of the committee picked it apart and discussed potential amendments. Secretary Napolitano called the plan "realistic" and "achievable" and she said the department would be ready to implement border security provisions within the outlined timeframe. However, committee members seemed wary, and Ranking Member Charles Grassley (IA) said: "This bill would put no pressure on this secretary or any future secretary to secure the borders." .If signed into law, this bill would repeal the windfall elimination provision (WEP) and establish a new formula to calculate benefits for those with non-covered earnings. The WEP currently affects more than one million seniors who collect Social Security benefits and have earned pensions from non-Social Security-covered employment. . My husband who is diabetic and has high blood pressure, underwent surgery for colon cancer in March of 2020. He recovered and returned to work last summer. Shortly thereafter he had a stroke. He's been unable to work and received short term disability benefits through his employer until coverage ended on December 31, 2020. Will he qualify for Social Security disability now? He will turn 63 in April 202