• Benefit Bulletin February 2014

    Immigration reform that provides work authorization, and a pending Social Security Totalization Agreement with Mexico, could mean that a very substantial amount of earnings in the ESF file would be reinstated in the future. Because earnings are used to determine both the number of quarters of coverage worked for insured status, and is used to calculate the initial benefit, this poses a substantial liability to the Social Security Trust Fund worsening its solvency. .I hate that we're placing seniors in no-win situations, and that's why I've re-introduced My Seniors' Security Act. It ensures that COLA increases aren't just eaten up by rising health care costs and it recalculates COLAs completely. Specifically, my act would create a ‘circuit breaker' of sorts, so seniors never lose more than 30% of their COLA to Medicare premiums. .(For more details see our "FAHow ‘Undocumented' Workers Are Becoming Entitled To Social Security.") Of particular importance is an exception that applies to immigrants receiving benefits living in a country with which the U.S. has a totalization agreement. It appears that under the U.S./Mexico Totalization Agreement, all that any illegal Mexican worker must do to qualify for benefits is return to Mexico. Once a claim has been filed, the U.S. Social Security system counts all earnings, even for jobs worked without legal authorization, to determine entitlement to benefits. TSCL is particularly wary of how the 2012 presidential election may affect the status of the agreement. And, even if voters send a new president to the White House, the agreement will continue to remain pending even if no action is taken by President Obama, for the next President's consideration. … Continued

  • Legislative Update Week Ending March 24 2017

    Finally, one new cosponsor – Representative Mark Pocan (WI-2) – signed on to the CHANGE Act (H.R. 4957), bringing the total to twenty-one. If adopted, this bill would direct CMS to create programs that would promote early identification of Alzheimer's disease, improve support for family caregivers, and provide continuous care for those battling many forms of dementia. .Carefully protect personal information, including your full name, address, bank account, and Social Security numbers. Never give that information out to unsolicited callers. .Start Now! … Continued

I am pleased to tell you that earlier this year I introduced House Resolution 680, which expresses the will of the House of Representatives to protect Medicare for Americans 55 and older and to seek ways to root out waste, fraud, and abuse from the program. With heated rhetoric coming from both parties about the future of Medicare and how to save it, my resolution is an attempt to find common ground – the first step toward protecting seniors and achieving any meaningful reform. .To help you sort things out, TSCL strongly recommends that you get free one-on-one Medicare counseling through your state health insurance assistance program (SHIP). Many of the programs operate through area agencies on aging, local departments of senior services or senior centers. You can also get more information online at or call 1-800-Medicare ( 7). .TSCL continues to work with Members of Congress for stronger protections of Social Security. TSCL supports legislation that would ban the payment of benefits based on illegal work — H.R. 787, "No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act," introduced by Representative Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46), and S.95, legislation to prevent Social Security credit from being earned without legal status, introduced by Senator David Vitter (LA). .The Senior Citizens League and the Alliance for Retired Americans endorse my Seniors' Security Act because they know what I do – that our seniors should be enjoying their golden years, not worrying about how they'll pay their bills and stay in their homes. .Questions have swirled around the accuracy of many of the more than 100 tests available, often imported from around the world by little-known distributors, that were rushed onto the market as the outbreak exploded. U.S. regulators initially allowed them and required little evidence from manufacturers, then subsequently put some requirements in place as criticism of the approach mounted. .If you start benefits sooner than age 66 and continue to work, you are subject to Social Security earnings restriction rules. Earn more than the annual exempt amount and Social Security will withhold some or all of your earnings. In addition, once you start benefits, your income may subject a portion of your Social Security benefits to tax. .The Medicare Hospital Trust Fund is Running Out of Money .TSCL enthusiastically supports H.R. 4704, H.R. 4841, and H.R. 2212, and we will continue to advocate for their passage in the months ahead. For more information, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website. .An abrupt jump in inflation in February and March of this year wiped out a short-lived improvement in the buying power of Social Security benefits in 2020, according to TSCL's latest study on rising senior costs. The study, which compares the growth in the Social Security cost of living adjustments (COLA)s with increases in the costs of goods and services typically used by retirees, found that, while consumer prices flatlined in 2020 through January 2021, costs are now sharply increasing.