Legislative Update For The Week Ending July 8 2011 Feed
While disability benefits may pay slightly more than early retirement benefits at age 63, starting the disability application and determination process is an arduous, bureaucratic procedure that can take a long time before benefits actually start — sometimes years. Many people find they must hire an attorney. According to data from the Social Security Administration, only one quarter of applicants are determined eligible for disability benefits the first time they apply. Filing an appeal has about 49% chance of succeeding, but the process can result in long waiting periods to be found eligible for benefits, which often takes more than two years. By the time your husband might be found eligible for disability benefits, he may only receive them for a year or two before he would age into his full retirement benefit. .The foam has been more effective in clearing most of Graves' symptoms and her Medicare Part D plan has paid for most of the cost of the "golden foam" so far. But Graves is keeping use of the medicine to a minimum, not only for health reasons, but because she doesn't want to run through her Part D initial coverage limit and hit the doughnut hole. .As a country, we also need to encourage generations of all ages to be informed about their options for retirement saving and to take personal responsibility for their own financial planning, including understanding the extent of their senior benefits such as Medicare or Social Security or taking advantage of the fact that many employers will match what American workers choose to contribute to their retirement, which means twice the savings. Currently, for many Americans, their personal savings fall well short of what they will need to continue to fund their standards of living after retiring from the workforce full-time – and I worry that each generation is saving less. If financial planning feels overwhelming, there are many existing resources you can access to help ensure you are effectively utilizing your options. The Department of Labor has created a guide called the Top 10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement to help with practical tips for building retirement savings. USA.gov provides an outline of your options for saving as well as a list of questions to ask yourself to ensure you're planning sufficiently for your future. You can also use a retirement calculator to find out the best age to claim your Social Security benefits. If you are experiencing a problem with your pension, profit sharing, or retirement savings plans, USA.gov points to the Pension Rights Center as a potential source of free legal assistance or advice. Knowledge is power, and it's important that Americans of all ages are informed of their options so that they can plan appropriately for their futures. … Continued
More Than Four In Ten Seniors Report Lower Social Security Checks Feed
Medicare's therapy cap on rehabilitation services, such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, has a long and sordid history in Washington D.C. The therapy cap sought to keep the Medicare budget under control but often hurt patients who need care after traumatic medical events. In practice, this cap limits access to Medicare - covered rehabilitation services. Patients are faced with either footing the bill for additional expensive care out of their own pocket or purchasing additional supplementary coverage if they can afford it. .In her opening statement, Chairman Susan Collins (ME), said: "Deciding at what age to begin claiming Social Security retirement benefits is the single most important financial decision that many Americans will ever make. Few, however, understand that making the wrong choice can end up costing them tens of thousands of dollars, or more, during their retirement." Retirees who qualify for Social Security benefits are entitled to begin collecting at 62, but for each delayed year, benefits grow by 8 percent until they reach their maximum amount at age 70. According to Chairman Collins, deciding when to file for benefits "could make the difference between a secure retirement and living in poverty." .Two Social Security Reforms That Seniors Strongly Support … Continued
At the hearing, Burwell made two key points of interest to TSCL. First, she commented that she fully supports President Obama's proposal to increase means testing within Medicare. TSCL opposes the President's plan since we fear that it could have unintended consequences that would ultimately drive up costs for many of the oldest and poorest seniors. Second, Burwell committed to work with Congress to repeal and replace the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, which has brought instability to the Medicare program for more than a decade. TSCL supports efforts to find a permanent solution, since repealing the SGR will result in higher quality medical care for seniors. .On Tuesday, the Senate HELP Committee held a bipartisan hearing to discuss the rising costs of prescription drugs. Members of the committee heard from four expert witnesses, including Doctor Paul Howard – Director of Health Policy at the Manhattan Institute – and Doctor Gerard Anderson – Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. .TSCL was pleased to see four new cosponsors sign on to H.R. 711 this week, and in the months ahead, we will continue to advocate for its passage so that public servants receive the retirement security they have earned and deserve. For updates on the progress of H.R. 711, follow TSCL on Twitter, or visit the Legislation News section of our website. .To make the Social Security COLA more adequate, The Senior Citizens League believes Congress must adopt the CPI-E Act (H.R. 1251). This bipartisan bill would base Social Security COLAs on the spending patterns of older Americans – not the spending patterns of young, working Americans – using the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). .Sources: "Do You Like Your Doctor? Obamacare Drives UnitedHealth to Downsize its Medicare Physician Networks," Avik Roy, Forbes, November 18, 2013. .The DOJ in late March arrested a man in Southern California who allegedly orchestrated an investment scheme involving a bogus injectable cure for Covid-1A week later, the DOJ filed charges against a man whose treatment allegedly involved a combination of Vitamin C, bee pollen, hydrogen peroxide, and prayer. . The Senior Citizens League is currently conducting its new 2020 Survey of Senior Costs. To learn more and participate visit . .Provide dog or cat boarding. If experienced and good at handling dogs and cats, consider giving vouchers for pet sitting services to family or friends who may be traveling. Choose the pets that you know and get along with, consider where the animals will stay, and how well the visiting dog or cat will get along with your animals. .Although immigration law forbids work without authorization, immigrants do find jobs, and the majority of employers report their earnings to SSA. Each year SSA receives hundreds of millions of W-2s. When the name and Social Security number (SSN) do not match SSA's records, the W-2 is held in the Earnings Suspense File (ESF). Recent data indicates that in recent years the ESF is growing at an unprecedented pace and the cumulative wages represented is now 5 billion. These wages can later be reinstated to valid Social Security numbers when immigrants gain work authorization. Because earnings are used to determine both the number of quarters of coverage worked for insured status, and the initial retirement benefit, this poses a substantial liability to the Social Security Trust Fund and would worsen its solvency.