2016 Legislative Update August 2016
Benefit reduction due to your ex-wife's age. — The maximum survivors benefit people can receive is limited to what your ex-spouse would have received if still alive. In 2016 she would have attained age 63, but her benefit would be reduced because she would not have reached her full retirement age, which is 66. .As outrageous as it is, there are reports of scams involving phony appointments for the COVID vaccine. People have received emails, phone calls or text messages supposedly from local health departments offering to put them on a vaccine registration list that doesn't really exist and then charging them for appointments. .For 4 per month the state of Virginia retirees should be able to purchase the most comprehensive drug coverage available nationally. But that was not the case. In fact, the drug benefits offered for 4 per month were almost identical to what Paula could purchase directly on her own for just .70 per month. The cost is so much lower because the federal government pays subsidies that cover an average of 75% of the cost of the Part D premium. Paula could not enjoy that savings if she received her Part D coverage through the state of Virginia retiree plan. If Paula chose to "opt out," she could find an even less costly plan that provided better coverage for the drugs she currently took. … Continued
Category Tscl In The News Page 2
Employment and average earnings information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate that average wages were down about 4.4% in 2020. But BLS wage data can vary from the final wage data that employers report to the Social Security Administration. Adjusting for the difference, the AWI for 2020 may drop only slightly, by roughly 0.65 percentage point. We are closely watching for the new AWI for 2020 from the Social Security Administration, but that final number won't be known until the end of the year. .How You Can Get Help With Heating Costs .In 2016 your Part B premium would be 1.80 per month if your family income is under 0,000. (If income is higher beneficiaries pay higher Medicare Part B and Part D premiums.) In addition you will need to decide whether to purchase a Medigap supplement and enroll in a Part D plan for drug coverage, or to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes Part D coverage. … Continued
Recently one of our readers asked "Is there a percentage as to how much less NOTCH BABIES receive monthly?" Although not many studies exist, according to one study of average earners born from 1917 through 1926, the disparity in benefits with other retirees seems to average about 26%. .Source: "Audits Of Some Medicare Advantage Plans Reveal Pervasive Overcharging," Fred Schulte, Center For Public Integrity," NPR, August 29, 201"Medicare Advantage: Fundamental Improvements Needed in CMS's Effort to Recover Substantial Amounts of Improper Payments, Government Accountability Office, April 2016. .New Medicare Enrollees in 201Because these people are new to Medicare, they pay the full amount in 2017 when they sign up. .Third, the bipartisan CHANGE Act (H.R. 4957) gained one new cosponsor in Representative Ted Lieu (CA-33), bringing the total up to twenty-two. If adopted, the CHANGE Act would promote early identification of Alzheimer's disease, improve support for family caregivers, and provide continuous care for those battling many forms of dementia. .The Inspector General found .1 billion in wages and self -employment income was reported in tax years 2006-2011 under the 67,000 numbers. The wage reports were placed in the Social Security Earnings Suspense File. The problem with placing these numbers into the Earnings Suspense File, however, allows for the earnings to potentially be claimed and used for determining benefits in the future. .Upon introducing his bill, Congressman Duncan said, "Lower energy prices have pulled down the overall official inflation rate based off of the CPI-W, which measures spending habits of young, urban workers. But seniors don't spend and consume in the same way as working Americans. It's time to finally create an accurate inflation rate just for seniors." .Report Says Drug Prices in U.S. Almost 3 Times Higher than Other Countries .2017 Loss of Buying Power Report .TSCL agrees that improvements must be made to ensure that older Americans are better informed about their benefit claiming options, and we are hopeful that SSA will carefully consider the proposals made at Wednesday's hearing. In addition, TSCL hopes that Congress will appropriate adequate funding to SSA in the months ahead so that field offices around the country can provide the highest quality service possible to individuals nearing and in retirement. For progress updates, follow TSCL's advocacy efforts on Twitter.