• Legislative Update For Week Ending May 13 2016

    For progress updates or for more information about these and other bills that would strengthen the Social Security program, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website or follow TSCL on Twitter. .Eighty percent of the nation's active pharmaceutical ingredients come from overseas — and China is its No. 2 supplier, behind only Canada. .This is all good news. In addition to the cost of pharmaceuticals, the simple availability of them is crucial for seniors, especially during times like this. … Continued

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    Last year, I co-founded the bipartisan House Retirement Security Caucus in order to raise awareness about the importance of properly planning for retirement (and the pitfalls of not doing so). As co-chairman of the caucus, I am committed to making sure the federal government does not make retirement planning more complicated than it should be. Just recently, in response to the Department of Labor's proposed "fiduciary rule" that could restrict Americans' access to financial advice, I voted for the SAVERS Act (H.R. 4294), which would protect such access while also helping to ensure that financial advisors act in the best interest of the retirees and families they serve. .We worked with members of Congress who supported ending the practice, although we were unable to get legislation passed. One of our key allies in the fight was Sen. Lamar Alexander (R- Tenn.). He was a champion of our cause but, unfortunately, he is retiring at the end of this year. We will certainly miss his leadership on the issue but we pledge to continue to fight to end the practice in 2021. .Both Social Security and Medicare have come under intense scrutiny for benefit cuts in recent years of deficit reduction negotiations. Immigration proponents say that immigration reform would boost the payroll taxes flowing to both programs and prolong program solvency. Critics, including TSCL, say that giving hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants new access to Social Security would boost long-term costs far more than the 2-year estimated gain in solvency that the Social Security program would receive. Under current law the government continues to calculate entitlement and the amount of the initial benefit based on all earnings, even for jobs worked under invalid or even fraudulent Social Security numbers prior to gaining legal work authorization. … Continued

If you're like most seniors, you probably depend on Social Security for at least half of your income. But how well does the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) protect you from rising costs? TSCL will soon release some answers to this question with the results of its 7th Annual Survey of Senior Costs. In recent years these surveys have indicated that Social Security beneficiaries lose a considerable portion of their buying power — as much as 31 percent — in as little as the first decade of retirement. .For information about town hall meetings near you in the days ahead, call the local offices of your elected officials. You can find contact information for your Members of Congress right here. .House members are increasingly feeling the effects of a five percent budget cut passed last year. Already tight budgets have forced drastic reductions in the number of salaried positions and could reduce the amount of services provided. .TSCL surveys over the past decade have indicated that the vast majority of older adults are overwhelmingly opposed to the government policy of allowing credit toward Social Security benefits for work under invalid and fraudulent Social Security numbers. A large number of the comments we receive are focused on the belief that immigrants are benefiting at the expense of U.S. citizens. Many older voters perceive unauthorized immigrants as benefiting from Medicaid, tax refunds for children, food stamps, and that children of unauthorized immigrants are swelling the enrollment of public schools. Meanwhile, the same voters are watching in disgust as lawmakers make surprise Social Security cuts, and battle down to the last minute over the question of whether to repay revenues borrowed from the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds. .It would have to report to Congress every two years on regulatory and financial developments that affect older investors. Reports would have to include recommendations for possible regulatory or legislative action. .Irene is the first to say she wouldn't know where to begin when it comes to figuring out the best deal for her drug coverage. To accomplish this she gets unbiased advice and counseling. Her neighbor, Mary Johnson, is a Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). Johnson, who has assisted seniors to compare and enroll in plans since the start of Part D in 2006, says "the cost differences between plans can be huge - Irene saved about ,276 in 2011 alone." .Warning: Scams prey on seniors and others .The ,400 stimulus checks will help millions of retirees to cope at a time when Social Security checks don't buy as much due to low COLAs while food and energy costs are climbing. The Senior Citizens League supports boosting Social Security benefits and tying the annual COLA to a consumer price index that more closely reflects the spending patterns of older Americans. To learn more and participate in surveys visit . .No. In fact whether he's aware of it or not, your brother-in-law may be involved in a Medicare fraud. If he's receiving payment, free goods or services in exchange for his Medicare number, that's considered a crime than can result in jail time. It's becoming more common, especially in Medicare fraud hot spots like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and the south Florida area where you live.