Congress Still Working To Avoid Government Shutdown
Rapidly climbing prices for consumer goods and services are making financial choices for older adults especially challenging this year. But eventually, these higher prices might mean a higher Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) for next year. In the meantime, older consumers are struggling to figure out how to pay for. Buying Power of Social Security Benefits Wiped Out by Soaring Inflation An abrupt jump in inflation in February and March of this year wiped out a short-lived improvement in the buying power of Social Security benefits in 2020, according to TSCL's latest study on rising senior costs. The study, which compares the growth in the Social Security cost of living adjustments (COLA)s with increases in the. Are We Experiencing the Return of Inflation? , editor .On Wednesday, the budget conference that was created in last month's deal to raise the debt ceiling and re-open the government met publicly for the first time. Each of the twenty-nine members – including seven House members and all twenty-two members of the Senate Budget Committee – made opening statements to establish their positions. As expected, many of the conferees seemed split along party lines on Wednesday, but each of them stressed a strong desire to reach an agreement. .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. … Continued
Fraud Concerns Grow About Obamas Illegal Immigration Policy
The Earnings Suspense File represents a huge growing potential liability to the Social Security program. Currently the file holds more than 295.5 million wage reports worth more than 5 billion. Wages are used to determine entitlement to Social Security benefits. Under current law when a worker is found eligible for Social Security, all earnings that can be proven are used to determine entitlement, even for jobs worked without legal authorization. .In his opening statement, Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (KY-3) said: "[Social Security] is facing serious long-term funding shortfalls, with promised benefits facing cuts as high as 20 percent as soon as 2035 if Congress does not act. Cuts of this level would be devastating for the individuals who rely on Social Security … Congress has a responsibility to act and honor the promise of retirement security." .Planning healthcare costs is extremely important, but not an easy task. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, healthcare expenses, on average, accounted for nearly 15 percent of Medicare household budgets in 200But even if you're in good health today, you're not out of the woods. The amount you spend on healthcare not only grows every year, but your need for more healthcare services increases with age. … Continued
In addition, Many Members of Congress have gone on the record saying that they would prefer to pass a short-term spending measure that would provide funding only through March of next year. That way, Republican majorities in both chambers would have more leverage when the issue is revisited. In an interview last week, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (KS-1) stated: "It doesn't make any sense to me to say, ‘Let's negotiate before we have a better position.'" Many lawmakers in the House and Senate seem to feel the same way. .In addition, on Wednesday, the Social Security Administration announced that seniors will receive a 1.5 percent Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2014, which is slightly lower than 2013's 1.7 percent COLA, and is far lower than the 3 percent average COLA over the past thirty years. Officials also announced on Wednesday that the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax will increase in January from 3,700 to 7,000. In a press release, SSA noted that about 10 million workers will pay higher taxes in 2014 as a result of the increase. .SGR Talks Stall as Deadline Looms .Catastrophic coverage stage (if you spend a total of more than ,100 counting all your prescriptions): .15 .On Tuesday, Senators on the influential Finance Committee held a hearing titled "Examining the Proposed Medicare Part B Drug Demonstration." Dr. Patrick Conway testified before the full committee on the status of the controversial demonstration program, which was proposed by CMS earlier this year and has not yet been implemented. The program will test new payment strategies for hospitals and physicians who administer prescription drugs to Medicare beneficiaries receiving outpatient care. It is a new attempt by the Obama Administration to move away from a medical system that rewards volume of care and towards one that values high-quality care. .This question is signficant in light of proposals to "reform" Social Security. Several proposals, including "progressive indexing" of the benefit formula, involve changes similar to those that were enacted in 1977 that led to the Notch disparity. When proposals to change the benefit formula are debated, Members of Congress, the media, and the public tend to focus on the anticipated percentage of reduction. The danger of doing this, however, is that the assumptions used at the time often bear little resemblence to what accually occurs. .A report came out this weekend about the possibility of new major cuts to Medicare. This could result because of Senate rules about how many votes it takes to pass legislation. .In his testimony, Mr. Goss explained that the Social Security DI Trust Fund will be fully solvent until 2032 – four years later than was projected in last year's report. In addition, the OASI Trust Fund will be fully solvent until late 2034 – just a few months earlier than was projected in last year's report. For the combined Trust Funds, the outlook is very similar to last year's and only minor changes will be needed to ensure the program's solvency. .Lawmakers from both the House and Senate remained in their home states and districts this week to continue the month-long August recess. They are expected to return to Washington on September 5th, following the Labor Day holiday.