• How Are You Doing In Retirement

    This week, CMS announced that its cuts to the Medicare Advantage program will total 1.9 percent next year, which is significantly lower than most analysts expected. However, the amount has not been finalized yet, and some say that the figure fails to consider all factors that will affect reimbursements. They expect to see a final rate in the range of 4 to 7 percent. .One further reason for the growth is undoubtedly the growth in the primary beneficiary rolls, upon which the benefits of ANP dependents and survivors are based. According to the Inspector General, older non-citizens workers are now at the age and have worked in this country long enough to be potentially eligible to file claims for retirement or disability. The Inspector General has also said that those who worked using invalid, or non-work Social Security numbers issued prior to January 1, 2004, did not need valid work authorization in order to file a claim. Under current law the Social Security Administration uses all earnings, including those for illegal work, to determine entitlement to benefits. .This week, The Senior Citizens League's (TSCL) legislative team met with several Members of Congress and their top staff to discuss legislation that would protect and defend the Social Security benefits of seniors. In addition, members of TSCL's legislative team were in attendance at the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction's first public hearing. TSCL also saw support grow for a key piece of legislation. … Continued

  • Social Security Medicare Questions February 2013

    Social Security recipients who have contacted The Senior Citizens League overwhelmingly feel that a higher COLA would be long overdue. They say that the COLA doesn't come close to keeping up with their actual cost increases. When prices rise rapidly at the same time that retirees are receiving a very low COLA, as is the case in 2021, this shortfall can produce long-term impacts on retirement income, and even health, when retired households without adequate retirement savings run short of cash before the month is over. "In email after email, we are hearing that people are cutting their spending on prescriptions and groceries because that's the last things they have left to cut," says Johnson. The Senior Citizens League works to strengthen Social Security benefits and the COLA. .It's time to address our real problems -- growing inequality and our looming retirement crisis. I have sponsored legislation that would apply the payroll tax to earned income above 0,000 and to investment income. This would extend Social Security's solvency for the next fifty years, and allow us to increase benefits to meet the elderly's higher living expenses. .(Washington, DC) – Half of retirees participating in a new survey by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) say they paid income taxes on a portion of their Social Security benefit income for the 2019 tax year. "There was no change from previous years in the 50 percent of retiree households who report that they pay tax on a portion of their benefits, despite the 2017 tax reform law, says Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. … Continued

During the recent government shutdown, a group of feisty World War II vets managed to do what Congress failed miserably to do for another 15 days – reopen a part of our shuttered government. The National Mall and parks in Washington D.C. were closed to visitors. But on day one of the shutdown, CNN reported that "busloads of World War II vets, many in wheel chairs, broke past the barricades to visit the World War II Memorial as onlookers applauded." As the cameras rolled and several Members of Congress were busy trading blame, a line of vets rolled past security officers "who willingly stepped aside," CNN reported. .Third, one new cosponsor, Representative Jamie Raskin (MD-8), signed on to the bipartisan Fair COLA for Seniors Act (H.R. 1553), bringing the total up to twenty-seven. If adopted, this bill would better protect the purchasing power of Social Security benefits by adopting a more adequate Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Under current law, COLAs underestimate the inflation seniors experience because they are based on the way young, working Americans spend their money. As a result, Social Security benefits have lost 33 percent of their purchasing power since 2000 according to our research. .Before spending the money, you may be able to accomplish a lot of your own retirement planning by exploring free or low-cost resources in your community. Try starting with educational programs offered by your local senior center, community college or public universities. Ask about classes and workshops specifically designed to help people over 60 learn about and think through major aspects of retirement and aging. Here are some questions to help get you started: .The situation can be potentially dangerous for Medicare beneficiaries and their families. If you are approached or receive a call by someone offering money, free services, free groceries, free transportation or TVs for your Medicare number, say no. If you suspect fraud, Medicare has an area on its website where you can report fraud. .Obama's controversial executive action would defer the deportation of up to five million illegal immigrants, including older adults who have children who were born in the U.S. (and thus U.S. citizens). In addition, his executive actions provide the work authorization required to receive Social Security and Medicare, once other qualifications are met. Texas and 25 other states are challenging the legality of Obama's actions. They are being supported by TSCL, 12 other groups, and 113 Members of Congress who argue in an amicus brief, that "the President acted contrary to both the express and implied will of Congress." .Based on the growth rate of the Consumer Price Index for Workers (CPI-W) over past 12 months, I'm projecting a COLA in the vicinity of 3.6% for 201But Congress may take action that would slow the growth of the COLA. Deficit reduction plans are likely to call for switching to the "chained" CPI, a move that TSCL feels would further undermine the purchasing power of benefits. The difference between the CPI-W and chained COLA has averaged about 0.3 percentage point since 2000, but that's not the case this year. In fact, if the switch were to affect the COLA payable in 2012, seniors would get a COLA of about 2.8% — a cut of more than 20%. .Is his condition found on the Social Security Administration's list of disabling conditions? This is a list of medical conditions that the Social Security Administration considers so severe that it prevents a person from completing substantial gainful activity. .If adopted, this key bill would improve Social Security COLAs by basing them on the CPI-E, and it would cover the cost by phasing out the payroll tax cap over the course of seven years. Together, these changes would improve the adequacy of Social Security benefits and strengthen the solvency of the Trust Funds past 2035. .Few diseases or conditions can be treated quickly, so be suspicious of any therapy claimed as a "quick fix."