Budget Committee Debates Future of DI Program .The Senate has been back in session for a few weeks and has held votes on some legislation but what we at TSCL are watching is what's been happening in both the Senate and House committees that deal with legislation of major concern to seniors. .Companies requiring mandatory arbitration say it saves money and time for resolving complaints. But older consumers still may wind up with legal fees, and may wind up having to pay a share of the arbitration fees. … Continued
56 Percent Social Security Recipients Paid Tax Benefits New Survey Senior Citizens League
This week, members of The Senior Citizens League's (TSCL) legislative staff were in attendance at two committee hearings – one held by the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, and one held by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. In addition, TSCL saw support grow for a key piece of legislation. .Their bill would address the administrative funding challenges that the Social Security Administration has been facing for several years. Since 2010, the Social Security Administration's budget has declined by 9 percent, resulting in a loss of 10,000 employees and the closure of more than 10 percent of all field offices nationwide. At the same time, the number of Social Security beneficiaries has increased dramatically by 15 percent since 2010. .Can You Live On Social Security Alone? … Continued
Congress this week was sort of the entire U.S. in miniature form. The Senate came back to town to conduct business, but not all Senators agreed with that. Most Senators followed the rules for wearing face masks, but not all. Not all committee hearings were attended by all the members. Most Senators were careful about following the protocols that have been recommended by health care professionals, but not all. .The "offset" rules for unemployment affected large numbers of seniors during the recent period of high unemployment. In Virginia, for example, the state unemployment insurance reserves dropped so low that a state law was triggered requiring cuts to the unemployment benefit payments of Social Security recipients in January 20By October, 30,000 jobless seniors in Virginia had been affected, and the offset completely wiped out the unemployment benefit of an additional 4,000. .In 2016 there was no COLA at all, and in 2017 the COLA was just 0.3 percent. During that time a special provision of law known as "hold harmless" protected about 70 percent of Social Security recipients from reductions to their Social Security benefits due to increasing Medicare Part B premiums. .How Much Should You Spend on Vet Care for Your Pets? .Legislation to Control Drug Prices Possible This Year? .The Senior Citizens League's Legislative Liaison Joe Kluck visited Capitol Hill on Tuesday, December 4, 2018. .Regardless of what the court decides, TSCL believes that Congress needs to enact legislation that would prevent Social Security credits for unauthorized work done under illegal, stolen or invalid Social Security numbers. TSCL supports the No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act (H.R. 1716), introduced by Representative Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48). .Critics of mandatory arbitration say the agreements stack the deck against long term care residents and consumers. Unlike civil suits which go to court, arbitration is private, and there's no judge or jury. There are no rules of evidence that arbitrators have to follow under the law, and there's no oversight. Critics also contend that consumers are less likely to win their cases in private arbitration and, if they do win, they tend to get much less money than they would in court. .The benefit reduction would be caused by a feature of the Social Security benefit formula that is sensitive to economic recessions and high unemployment. The first step in calculating benefits is to adjust the individual's earnings using the average wage index (AWI) in order to convert the value of past earnings into today's dollars. The AWI is also used to adjust the earnings levels that determine the portion of their average monthly earnings that people are allowed to keep as their benefit.