(Washington, DC) – Providing a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2016 should be the next top priority for Congress, according to a new poll of retirees released today by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). When asked, “Which of the following should be the most important priority for Congress in the next few months?” the majority of poll respondents — 34 percent — said that Congress should “Provide a higher and more fair COLA.” In October the Social Security Administration announced that inflation is so low there would be no COLA next year. “But Social Security beneficiaries today are struggling to keep up with rising costs, and next year’s zero COLA will put them even further behind,” says TSCL Chairman, Ed Cates.
TSCL recently asked their members and supporters how no COLA in 2016 would impact their budgets. “They told us they will struggle to cover the costs of prescription drugs, car repairs, property taxes, rising food costs, and even their most basic needs next year,” Cates says. “Simply put, Americans living on a fixed income cannot afford to go without a COLA, and we are concerned about the impact recent years of record - low COLAs will have on the long-term adequacy of benefits for millions of people who depend on COLAs,” Cates explains.
The poll, which was conducted in September and October of this year, during the debt limit budget standoff, found that respondents voted higher and more fair COLAs as an even greater priority than “Preventing 20% Social Security Disability Insurance benefit cut” or “increases in Medicare premiums and cost-sharing”— two provisions which were passed in the recent debt deal.
What Retirees Consider The Most Important Priority For Congress In Coming Months
|Provide a higher and more fair Cost of Living Adjustment||34%|
|Pass legislation to require high-income workers to pay their fair share of Social Security taxes on earnings.||29%|
|Prevent spiking increase in Medicare premium and cost sharing.||22%||P|
|Prevent Social Security Disability Insurance program insolvency and a 20% benefit cut.||15%||P|
TSCL strongly supports legislation that would provide 70 million Americans with a one-time emergency COLA payment of 3.9% ($580). The Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act (S.2251) was introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren, and a companion bill was introduced in the House by Representative Alan Grayson, H.R. 4012.
The legislation fully covers the cost of providing the emergency payments by closing corporate compensation loopholes, which provide enormous tax breaks for the CEO of the nation’s top corporations. By closing the loophole, the bill also would add substantial new revenue to Social Security extending the solvency of both the retirement and disability insurance trust funds.
To learn more, visit www.SeniorsLeague.org.
With 1.2 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation’s largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of The Retired Enlisted Association. Visit www.SeniorsLeague.org for more information.