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Members of Congress receive their benefits through the District of Columbia's small business health options program (SHOP) exchange that was established under the 2010 health law. Effective January 1, 2014, Members of Congress had to give up their previous health benefits received through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) and get their insurance through the exchange. However, they remain eligible for employer contributions from the federal government (i.e., U.S. taxpayers) toward coverage, just as they previously received for their FEHB coverage. .Since enactment 84 years ago, Social Security has been the most reliable source of retirement income that most retirees have. That said, our current Social Security program has a funding imbalance that's creeping forward. In 2018 the Congressional Budget Office reported that Social Security's total benefit costs exceeded its total income, including (for the first time) the "interest" income on the special obligations bonds, or I.O.U.s that are held by the trust fund. According to the Social Security Trustees, from here forward, Social Security benefits will be financed with a combination of payroll taxes, revenues from the taxation of Social Security income, "interest" income from the special obligation bonds, and net redemptions of those bonds, until the reserves held from the Trust Funds are depleted. .Continuing Resolution Debate Grows Complex … Continued
S 771 Improving Access Affordable Prescription Drugs Act
Finally, one new cosponsor – Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) – signed on to the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 1795) this week, bringing the total up to one hundred and fourteen. If signed into law, the bill would repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) – two federal provisions that unfairly reduce the earned Social Security benefits of millions of state and local government employees each year. .What Is the Risk of Catching the Coronavirus on a Plane? .A majority of seniors 65 and older who receive Social Security depend on it for at least 50 percent of their total income, and one in three beneficiaries rely on it for 90 percent or more of their total income. TSCL is fighting proposals to cut COLAs. TSCL believes that seniors could receive a more fair COLA if the government were to use a consumer price index that more closely tracked the spending patterns of seniors. … Continued
Over 3 million Notch Babies have joined TSCL's grassroots fight for Notch Reform, by adding their names to the TSCL Notch Reform Registry. The registry acts as a list of senior Americans who are on record as supporting Notch reform and want Members of Congress to pass "The Notch Fairness Act" (H.R.1001) introduced by Representative Mike McIntyre (NC-7) and (S. 118) introduced by Senator David Vitter (LA). .Federal law requires that any reduction in payroll tax revenues going into the Social Security Trust Fund must be replaced dollar-for-dollar with general revenues from the U.S. Treasury. Consequently, a temporary extension of the payroll tax cut will have no effect on the Social Security Trust Fund. .If they are not included, we will continue to fight for them next year and each year until we are successful. .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. .A second of the measures the President signed on Saturday aims to provide 0 in weekly unemployment aid for millions of Americans. Trump said 25 percent of this money would be paid by states, many of which are already dealing with major budget shortfalls. The federal contribution would be redirected from disaster relief money at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Those funds are not likely to last more than two months, and the President did not say when the benefits would kick in. .In 2019 you are allowed to earn ,640, or ,470 per month. If, for example, you were to earn ,000 this year then you would have ,180 withheld from your Social Security benefits. Your earnings would be ,360 in excess of ,640. Half of that is ,180. The Social Security Administration collects this by withholding your monthly Social Security payments until it collects the ,180. Let's say you get a retirement benefit of ,000, that could mean Social Security would withhold your entire Social Security benefit for the next seven months. Once the ,180 is collected the difference will be sent later. .Because there was no waiver in the Covid relief bill, new legislation to waive the mandatory cuts is needed. Congress passed a similar waiver for Republicans' 2017 tax overhaul, which was passed in the same manner as the Covid-19 relief bill. .Second, in October, Congress passed legislation to strengthen Social Security's Disability Insurance (DI) program. Many of the recommendations that TSCL made to the House Ways and Means Committee back in August were signed into law, including provisions that will ramp up fraud prevention and test new work incentives for beneficiaries. Most importantly, the law prevents a 20 percent benefit cut that was scheduled to hit 11 million disabled beneficiaries in December 201A cut of that size would have been truly devastating for enrollees, and TSCL applauds Members of Congress for averting it. .According to Bloomberg News, "Budget officials analyzed prices of 176 popular brand name drugs and found the price for a 30-day supply of medication was 8 on average through Medicaid and 3 through Medicare Part D, which pays for prescription drugs in retail pharmacies. The government also paid twice as much on the same drugs through Medicare versus the Veterans Affairs program."