Benefit Bulletin: July 2012

Benefit Bulletin: July 2012

Ten Questions For Your Next Town Hall

Members of Congress and candidates frequently schedule town halls. Voters get an opportunity to ask questions and to learn the candidates’ positions on key issues. Be prepared by having questions in hand when you attend. Here are some ideas:

1. The Social Security Trustees now say that benefit costs are exceeding the cash revenues coming in. Do you think changes are needed, and if so, what?

2. The Social Security Trustees forecast that the disability trust fund will be completely exhausted by 2016. What do you feel should be done to ensure that the disabled continue to receive their benefits?

3. A survey by The Senior Citizens League indicates that Social Security benefits have lost more than one-third of their purchasing power over the past decade. Do you support calculating the COLA using an index that more accurately measures seniors’ cost of living?

4. Seniors born from 1917 through 1926, known as “Notch Babies” receive lower Social Security benefits than other retirees with almost identical earnings histories. Do you support Notch Reform legislation that would provide a choice of $5,000 payable in four annual installments or an improved monthly benefit?

5. Under current law noncitizens can file a claim for Social Security benefits if other qualifications are met. Currently Social Security counts all earnings toward Social Security entitlement, even for jobs worked while illegally present in the United States. Do you think any change is needed to this policy and if so what do you propose?

6. Under current law, workers earning more than $110,100 today pay no Social Security taxes on their earnings over that amount. A major proposal to extend the solvency of Social Security would increase or completely eliminate the taxable maximum. What is your position?

7. What do you feel are Medicare’s major problem areas, and how do you feel they should be addressed?

8. The rapid growth in Medicare Part B costs is consuming an increasing share of beneficiaries’ income. What proposals do you support to slow the growth in the out-of-pocket costs?

9. Medicare fraud, waste, and abuse costs about $60 billion a year. What type of measures do you support to put a stop to this loss of Medicare finances?

10. Currently there is a 2% tax cut on the Social Security payroll tax workers pay. That tax cut is due to expire December 31, 2012. Do you favor a further extension, and if so how would you pay for it?

We encourage you to attend a town hall, and invite others you know. The future of our retirement and our healthcare benefits rests in our hands.

These questions were prepared as a public service by The Senior Citizens League, 1001 N. Fairfax St. #101, Alexandria, VA 22314, 703-548-5568. With over 1 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation’s largest nonpartisan seniors groups. TSCL consists of vocally active senior citizens concerned about the protection of their Social Security, Medicare and veteran or military retiree benefits.