Legislative Update Week Ending September 12 2014
Last week Rep. Tim Walburg (R- Mich.) introduced a bill, H.R.2266, that would amend title II of the Social Security Act to provide for a minimum annual cost-of-living increase for Social Security benefits. .Once the costs that both you and your drug plan have paid exceed the above limit, then you will pay 25% co-insurance for brand drugs in 2019, and your drug plan will pay 5%. There's a manufacturer discount of 70%. For generics, you will pay 37% and plans pay 63%. This phase of coverage — which is called the "doughnut hole" or coverage gap —lasts until you have a spent a total of ,100 out-of-pocket on prescription costs. Please note that what you pay in premiums does not count toward out-of-pocket costs. Once you have spent ,100, which counts the manufacturer discount portion of the drug cost in the doughnut hole, then you reach the Part D catastrophic threshold. Medicare pays 80%, plans pay 15% and enrollees pay the greater of either 5% of total drug costs or .40/.50 for each generic/brand-name drug respectively. .Candidates campaign for office saying they don't support cutting Social Security benefits of current retirees, or those close to retirement. Yet the two recently - enacted changes went into effect almost immediately after passage. People who are under the age of 66 by the end of April 2016 may no longer use file and suspend, and those who were under the age of 62 by the end of 2015 will no longer be able to use restricted applications for spousal benefits. … Continued
H R 4144 Seniors And Veterans Emergency Save Benefits Act
TREA Senior Citizens League (TSCL) was formed in 1993 to protect "earned" Social Security and Medicare benefits. Many TSCL members are affected by the Notch, and rank Notch Reform as their top legislative priority. TSCL is the only national senior citizens action organization to continue to lobby for Notch Reform. To date, TSCL has 1.3 million members and supporters who participate in a number of grassroots lobbying and public education campaigns. .Housing: (rent of primary residence, owners' equivalent rent, fuel oil, bedroom furniture) .However, others at Tuesday's hearing focused on the skyrocketing prescription drug costs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries. In his opening statement, Ranking Member Ron Wyden (OR) said, "The fact is, seniors are getting pounded by drug costs. And in my view, there is an enormous amount of work that has to be done to guarantee that seniors have affordable access to the medications they need." … Continued
Why Are My Social Security Benefits Taxed? This Is Double Taxation! .A major study by two economists at the Social Security Administration found that the growth is mainly due to Baby Boomers moving into disability-prone ages, growth in the number of women covered for disability benefits, and ordinary population growth. But the researchers were unable to account for 10 percent of the growth that they attributed to what they dubbed the disability "incidence rate" — meaning the growth not attributable to something else. Some members of Congress and the public are beginning to question whether overly vague eligibility criteria, and too many applicants receiving benefits that they aren't entitled to, might be to blame. .Major findings: .How have you been affected by COVID-19? Share your story with us at . .Social Security's Disability Insurance program is littered with waste. Last year, for example, .8 billion in overpayments were made to those collecting disability benefits. In addition, the administration has allowed an enormous backlog to accumulate for Continuing Disability Reviews, which are conducted to determine whether a beneficiary has recovered enough to return to work. Currently, every dollar spent reviewing cases yields more than ten dollars in savings; if the backlog were eliminated, more than billion in savings would be returned to the Trust Fund. The potential savings from eliminating waste within Social Security are enormous and could cover the cost of the Notch Fairness Act. Second, Congress could increase the amount of income subject to the Social Security payroll tax – an option that sixty-seven percent of TSCL members strongly supported in this year's Senior Survey. Currently, yearly income earned above 0,100 is not subject to the payroll tax. .TSCL's all-volunteer Board of Trustees and legislative team look forward to working with both new and veteran lawmakers this year on the issues that matter the most to our members and supporters. We will work tirelessly throughout the 114th Congress to ensure that Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries receive the retirement security they have earned and deserve. .I care deeply about guaranteeing that all Americans have access to food, regardless of their income. That is why I introduced this bill. .House Passes Funding Bill .(Washington, DC) – The tax bill being discussed in the U.S. House contains what may be only a fleeting benefit for middle class and older Americans, warns The Senior Citizens League. "The changes under consideration may provide some modestly lower federal income taxes at first, but the benefits for many people would be short - lived," says The Senior Citizens League's Social Security and Medicare policy analyst, Mary Johnson. "Older middle - income Americans could shoulder a disproportionate share of taxes under these changes, and get pushed more quickly into higher tax brackets than they are today," says The Senior Citizens League's Social Security and Medicare policy analyst, Mary Johnson.