Congressional Corner Preserving The Safety Net For Our Seniors
While employment plunged at the height of the recession in 2009, new data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) suggests that millions of illegal immigrant workers hung onto their jobs. Employers sent in 7.7 million wage reports of workers whose names and Social Security numbers (SSN) don't match those on the SSA's files for 200The "mismatched" wage reports are frequently caused when the SSA receives copies of W2s for illegals who work under stolen, false or invalid SSNs. Although employment among illegal workers appears to have declined in 2009, the number of such "mismatched" wage reports that the SSA received from 2000 - 2009 averaged 9.5 million per year. .On Wednesday, TSCL's Board of Trustees, along with Executive Director Shannon Benton, presented Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC-7) with the 2012 Seniors Advocate Award for his efforts on behalf of the nation's senior citizens. For more than fifteen years, Rep. McIntyre has been a leader dedicated to the issues that matter the most to TSCL's members and supporters. .However, statistics indicate that unauthorized immigrants from Mexico make up a majority of all unauthorized immigrants in the U.S., and in a 2003 report, the General Accounting Office (GAO, now known as the Government Accountability Office) recognized the potential for unauthorized immigrant workers to abuse the Social Security system and fraudulently obtain benefits. … Continued
Category Issues Social Security Faqs
Since the start of CPI-E in 1983, the average difference between it and the CPI-W is roughly .25 percentage point per year. Sounds tiny but, like interest, it compounds over time. Had the CPI-E been used to determine COLAs since 2015, your benefit would be about 2% higher today. An average benefit of ,215 per month in 2015 will increase to ,298 per month in 2020. But had the CPI-E been used to calculate the COLAs, that benefit would have been per month more or ,324 in 2020. .Now more than ever, we must fight to ensure that when older Americans retire they can look forward to a stable economic future and reliable, high-quality healthcare. During the devastating economic recession, older Americans saw their hard-earned savings dwindle, lost millions in diminished pension funds, and were laid off just a few years before retirement. Now, Congress must work past partisan gridlock to support seniors. During my time in Congress, I've fought for seniors by reaching across the aisle to protect landmark programs like Medicare and Social Security and introduced commonsense legislation that will strengthen the financial security of older Americans. .Thus beneficiaries will continue to be hit with steep costs when they fall into the coverage gap in the foreseeable future. To keep prices as low as possible in the doughnut hole, beneficiaries can look into using mail-order pharmacies, which require 90-day prescriptions and are often cheaper per dose than a 30-day supply. People with limited incomes may also qualify for Extra Help or other pharmaceutical assistance programs. TSCL also recommends that Part D beneficiaries talk to their doctors at each visit to discuss potential alternatives to their high-cost prescriptions. … Continued
TSCL is working for the re-introduction of the Notch Fairness Act. This legislation would allow Notch Babies born from 1917 through 1926, or survivors who receive benefits on a Notch Baby's account, to choose a lump sum of ,000 payable in four annual installments of ,250, or an improved monthly benefit. .Is Low Cost Dental Insurance A Good Reason to Switch Health Plans? .This week, Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO-8) introduced H.R. 239, The Notch Baby Act. The Notch Baby Act, if signed into law, would grant an improved benefit computation for those born between 1917 and 1926, Notch Babies. The formula is slightly different than that used in Rep. Ralph Hall's (TX-4) Notch Fairness Act and does not have a cap on costs. .There are, however, a number of ways that unauthorized workers can, and do, become entitled to benefits based on illegal work (see our "FAHow "Undocumented" Workers Are Becoming Entitled To Social Security" from the May 2012, Volume 17, Number 4 issue of The Social Security & Medicare Advisor. Despite a 2004 law forbidding illegals from claiming Social Security benefits, they are able to do so if at some point their status changes and they receive work authorization — as would happen under an amnesty. With work authorization, noncitizens can file a claim for Social Security benefits. Under current law when determining entitlement for benefits, Social Security uses all earnings for calculating the primary benefit amount, even if the earnings were for unauthorized work using fraudulent documents. All the individual needs to do is to supply evidence of the earnings, such as old W2s, and earnings in the ESF file would be "reinstated" to the account of the claimant. .The bill would limit price increases in drugs covered by Medicare Part D plans to the rate of inflation or drug makers would be forced to pay a penalty in the form of a rebate. "Since Social Security benefits only grow at the rate of inflation, it would help level the playing field if the cost of prescription medications were required to be adjusted in like fashion," Johnson notes. Research on typical retiree costs conducted by Johnson has found that from 2000 to 2019, annual cost – of – living adjustments (COLAs) increased Social Security benefits by 50 percent but spending on prescription drugs grew five times faster — 253 percent — over the same period. .Now, Members of the House are planning to vote on a potentially revised CR next Wednesday, which means that the Senate will either be called back to Washington for a vote during their upcoming recess, or they will wait until they return at the end of the month, just days before the September 30th deadline. .The amount spent per person, which increases with age and health changes, and ."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. .If you are interested in helping TSCL make the most of the 113th Congress, give us a call at 800-333-TSCL to help us start a local chapter or plan a town hall meeting in your area.