Legislative Update For Week Ending January 10 2014
This week, The Senior Citizens League released its final estimate for the 2019 Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), and four key bills gained support in Congress. .The Post story said that labs struggled to ramp up coronavirus testing, and hospitals and nursing homes ran short of personal protective equipment over the spring. These failures hampered the national and state responses to the pandemic, leaving the United States with far more infections and deaths than any other country. Even now, shortages of protective medical gear are looming as outbreaks grow in the South. One big reason is because these supplies often come from other countries, which were also dealing with outbreaks. .These fraudulent products that claim to cure, treat, or prevent COVID-19 haven't been evaluated by the FDA for safety and effectiveness and might be dangerous to you and your family. … Continued
Legislative Update September 2013
Deferred Action allows immigrants under the age of 33, who entered the country illegally as children, to request consideration of deferred action on deportation. In addition, the program provides temporary work authorization, and valid Social Security numbers. The work permits are good for two years and the Obama Administration recently announced they are taking applications for renewal. .Medigap — Medicare supplements tend to have higher premiums than Medicare Advantage plans, but are popular because they cover most of your deductibles and co-insurance costs. Even so, Medicare estimates that average annual premium and out-of-pocket costs for Medigap policies can range around ,500. .2014 Annual Survey of Senior Costs, Mary Johnson, The Senior Citizens League, March 2014. … Continued
TSCL is closely watching for the introduction of proposals to strengthen Social Security and Medicare benefits and program financing. While financing issues for both programs are daunting, we believe that funding for both can be strengthened without deep benefit cuts. "Increasing benefits for all" was a key platform plank for the majority of the Representatives in the House, roughly half the Senate, and, our President elect. In coming months, TSCL plans to hold the lawmakers accountable for how they plan to turn this promise into reality for older Americans. .Tucked away into the President's health care law is a little-known tax increase that's scheduled to hit seniors in 201If allowed to go forward, they will find themselves facing hundreds of dollars in higher taxes – at a time when many can least afford it. .On Wednesday, after a nine-hour markup, lawmakers on the House Budget Committee approved a .9 trillion resolution to fund the federal government through fiscal 201The proposal includes .5 trillion in spending cuts, including 9 billion to the Medicare program. To accomplish this, it would transform Medicare into a premium-support program over a seven-year period, where beneficiaries would be given vouchers to purchase private insurance from a list of authorized plans. .Without passage of the waiver legislation the Office of Management and Budget will impose the Medicare payment cuts at the end of the current congressional session. While Social Security, low-income programs such as Medicaid, and veterans' benefits are exempt from sequestration, Medicare payments can be reduced up to 4%. .Seniors and Baby Boomers nearing retirement have every right to object and that doesn't make anybody greedy for doing so. After 1983, when the Social Security Trust Fund began building up reserves, our government proceeded to use all excess funds, and replaced that money with .6 trillion in special non-marketable bonds, or I.O.U.s. Seniors are frequently told those I.O.U.s are backed by the full faith of the U.S. government which has never defaulted on its debt. But now that the U.S. Treasury must borrow to pay the interest due to the I.O.U.s held by the Trust Fund, lawmakers are considering plans that would cut promised Social Security benefits. If a government default on the U.S. savings bonds held by public investors is unthinkable — why is cutting obligations to Social Security beneficiaries any less so? .Consider the difference it would have made if Congress had provided an emergency COLA of 2.5% during the four years when there was no, or almost no, COLA in 2010, 2011, 2016, and 201The benefits of people retired since 2009 would be about 10% higher per month today! For someone receiving about ,200 in 2009 that would be an extra 0 per month. .Members of Congress remained in their home states and districts this week for Tuesday's mid-term elections. They are expected to return to Capitol Hill to begin the "lame duck" session on Wednesday, November 12th, following the Veterans Day holiday. .In December — just before the 115th Congress came to a close — The Senior Citizens League's (TSCL's) Board of Trustees member and Legislative Liaison Joe Kluck traveled to Capitol Hill to thank lawmakers who sponsored key legislation that would strengthen and protect the Social Security program for current and future beneficiaries. .More generous medical expense deductions for 2017 and 2018: The final tax bill retains the deduction for medical expenses and delays a previous change that would have limited the medical expense deduction for people age 65 and older in 2017 and thereafter. Under previous tax law, all taxpayers could deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses that exceed 10% of adjusted gross income, or only 7.5% for taxpayers age 65 or older. The amount of medical expenses that this group of taxpayers would be allowed to deduct was originally scheduled to rise to 10% in 201The new tax bill delayed that change, retaining the 7.5% threshold for medical expenses for taxpayers age 65 and over in 2017 and 201The change to 10% will go into effect beginning in 2019.