Legislative Update Week Ending November 14 2014
We may not all agree on ways to reform the system, but at the very least it is time for our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to wake up and admit that we can't continue to defend the status quo. These new reports from the Medicare trustees make that much perfectly clear. .Watch our public service video about the need for a fair Social Security COLA and spread the word! .At Wednesday's hearing, key witnesses made several recommendations for improving the process. Sita Nataraj Slavov – Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University – suggested that SSA stop using the term "retirement age" since it suggests that individuals should claim benefits immediately after they stop working. She also recommended that SSA begin referring to age 70 as the "full" retirement age since it is the age at which benefits are the highest. In addition, William Meyer of Social Security Solutions, Inc. suggested that SSA notify individuals of the annual difference in benefits they would receive if they delayed filing for one year. … Continued
Congressional Corner Tackling High Cost Prescription Drugs
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. .The potential cost in benefits based on illegal work is substantial. Failure to address this inconsistency of law could result in newly legalized immigrants receiving benefits for earnings received while breaking U.S. laws, at the same time U.S. workers and senior citizens who paid into the system legally over their entire careers receive benefit cuts and higher taxes. ."Unfortunately for seniors and their families these extreme differences in cost are not unique," says Johnson. "Almost every Medicare beneficiary enrolled in a Part D drug or Medicare health plan can achieve savings if they carefully compare all their options every year and switch when they find better coverage," Johnson says. "All that's required is computer access, the Medicare Drug and Health Plan Compare tools on the Medicare website at www.medicare.gov and determination to give it a try," she notes. … Continued
In 2017, the COLA was almost zero again, just 0.3%. The Medicare Part B premium rose to 4 for people not protected by hold harmless. Again the Part B premium of Barbara and the majority of Social Security recipients was adjusted. Barbara's monthly Medicare premium was adjusted to 8, taking every penny of her tiny COLA boost. .In the months ahead, TSCL's legislative team will closely monitor proposals that would impact older Americans, and we will continue to advocate for legislation that would strengthen and modernize the Social Security and Medicare programs responsibly, without enacting harsh benefit cuts. .Congressman Larson's bill would comprehensively reform the Social Security program by enhancing benefits and improving the solvency of the Trust Funds for decades to come. He said at Wednesday's hearing: "The Social Security 2100 Act will expand and enhance Social Security, making the program financially stable through this century and beyond. It is the only legislative proposal that expands benefits, is fully paid for, and achieves sustainable solvency as determined by the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration." .Increase the retirement age: Raise both the eligibility age both for full benefits, currently at 66 and set to rise to 67 and, for the first time, raise the earliest eligibility age which is currently 62. .Changes in your earnings: Did you report increases in salary or commissions? You need to keep Social Security informed of higher earnings in order for your benefits to be accurately withheld. .However, a new analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center was just released that has its own updated forecast that includes the effects of the pandemic. .It would permanently set the Social Security Administration's administrative funding at 1.5 percent of overall benefit payments, more than doubling the funding that the administration currently receives. .For more information about these and other TSCL-backed bills, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website. To follow The Senior Citizens League's work on Capitol Hill, follow us on Twitter. .This week, lawmakers in the Senate continued working on plans to reform the healthcare system. In addition, The Senior Citizens League saw five key bills gain new cosponsors in the House.