Legislative Update Week Ending November 21 2014
Did Members of Congress receive a COLA this year? If so did they get more than the 3.6% that seniors received? Is it true they don't pay into Social Security? .Things could get worse for older households. Some economists and policy makers worry that the new economic stimulus will cause consumer prices to spiral. Consumer price index data through February showed a big jump in some prices and suggests that the next Social Security COLA may in fact be much higher — the highest since 2019 when the COLA was 2.8%. "But right now, those higher prices erode the buying power of Social Security benefits," says Johnson who studies the impact that rising prices have on the purchasing power of Social Security recipients. According to research by Johnson, from January of 2000 to January of 2020, Social Security benefits have already lost 30 percent of buying power. .58% Of Seniors Worried Their Health Plan Could Be Cancelled … Continued
Congressional Corner Transforming Medicare Fixing A Broken Payment System
This week, one Member of Congress introduced legislation that could make the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) a more accurate measure of inflation. In addition, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) saw support grow for two key bills. .Watch our newest video featuring TSCL's Board of Trustees as they work for our benefits in our nation's Capitol. .If Congress considers cuts to the COLA, changes in the benefit formula and increases in the retirement age, special attention will be needed regarding when changes would become effective and how they would be phased-in. The recession is already having a significant impact on the growth of Social Security benefits. If Congress cuts benefits, or reduces the growth in benefits during this slow recovery, it will likely produce a long lasting double-whammy effect for retirees. … Continued
Compare costs. Before making any decision to drop your current plan ask for a breakdown of costs of the plan you are considering. However, keep in mind the information supplied by an insurer or agent may be incomplete or omit important cost information. Don't sign anything without consulting several outside sources of information. .Last week the U.S. House of Representatives announced it will not implement the President's directive for employees of the House, joining major companies in rejecting the option. .Over the past five years, the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) has reached an all-time low, averaging just 1.5 percent. Seniors, however, have reported that their living expenses are higher than ever. In fact, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) has found that seniors have lost almost one-third of their purchasing power since 2000, and their expenses have increased more than twice as fast as the annual COLA. Today, it is more clear than ever that the Social Security COLA is failing to help seniors keep up. .According to the president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, "The bill throws a lifeline to caregivers by continuing the pause in the 2% Medicare sequester, and making adjustments to buffer the impact of an ill-conceived change in physician payments during a pandemic." .Actuaries aren't in agreement over how many more years of solvency Social Security has left. The 2018 Social Security Trustees Report estimates that the Social Security Trust Fund will become insolvent in 2034, about 15 years from now. The more pessimistic Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the depletion date would be two years sooner in 2032, only 13 years away. If Congress does nothing, and allows the Social Security Trust Fund to become insolvent, the program could still pay benefits, but benefits would be cut to coincide with the amount of revenue received — by about 25%. .For progress updates or for more information about these and other bills that would strengthen Social Security and Medicare programs, visit the our website or follow TSCL on Twitter. .Services must be those that have earned an "A" or "B" recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. They include: annual wellness visit, blood tests for heart disease, bone mass measurements, diabetes screening, colon cancer screening, diabetes screening, flu shot, hepatitis B vaccine, medical nutrition therapy, pap smears, pelvic exams and clinical breast exams, pneumonia vaccine, prostate cancer screening (PSA test), and screening mammograms. .For example, you may want to suggest that your sister put a simple plan into writing. The plan should outline how she wants to live. It's important for your sister to consider who is going to take care of her, if there's an emergency, or, if she needs someone to drive her to or from doctors' appointments. Do you have such a plan for your own long-term care? Perhaps this is something the two of you can do together. Your sister is not too young to start her plan. In fact, age 78 is an ideal age to put a plan in place, and, even to consider moving into a senior living community. ."The Medicare Trustees already estimate that Medicare Part B and Part D premiums and out-of-pocket costs take about 27 percent of average Social Security benefits," states TSCL Chairman, Larry Hyland. "And that understates actual costs because it doesn't include what people pay for their supplements or Medicare Advantage plans," he notes. "These proposals simply shift a greater portion and more risk to seniors, making Medicare even less affordable for low- and middle-income beneficiaries," Hyland says. "We urge seniors to contact their lawmakers in Congress and let them know what you think of these ideas to cut the deficit," he adds. TSCL lobbies to keep Medicare affordable and protect seniors from cuts to Social Security benefits and reductions to the COLA. In addition TSCL supports legislation to provide a more fair and adequate COLA.