Benefit Bulletin: May 2022

Seniors Feel Left Behind: Help Draft a “Senior Priority Plan” and Reset the Agenda in Congress

By Rick Delaney, Chairman of the Board

Our most recent Senior Survey revealed a few unpleasant truths about Social Security.  As uncomfortable as this is to hear, one-out-of-two Social Security recipients probably isn’t getting enough to eat.  Almost half of our survey participants, 47%, report that they have either filed an application for food stamps (SNAP) or visited a food pantry over the past 12 months.  Rising food prices and other inflation played a big role in this, but this finding is a red flag.  Social Security benefits alone are not adequate to live on, especially in times of high inflation.  Congress and the White House need to strengthen Social Security’s benefits and program funding for everyone.

Here’s one example of what we are hearing from R.M. of SC:

I spent over $2,000 in out-of-pocket costs for my prescriptions last year.  That equates to a whole month of my income.  Congress, and the White House have left us behind.  To go hungry, or to get my medications is a choice I have had to make this year.  The Ensure I’m supposed to drink to help gain weight is not covered by Medicare.  But my doctor orders it.  Many seniors are frail and need these supplements.  I can no longer afford these needed supplements, and only weigh 103 lbs.  I hear that the U.S. cut child poverty, but seniors are the largest voting block and, we should not be ignored!

Members of Congress listen up!  It’s a midterm election year and your older constituents are feeling neglected by their elected lawmakers and the White House.  TSCL is disappointed in the lack of action on legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs, cap out-of-pocket spending of beneficiaries, and modestly boost funding for in-home long-term care services.  Older voters still say there’s a need for targeted, one-time stimulus check of $1,400 for Social Security recipients.  And we also are disappointed that Congress has virtually no plan to address the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund’s insolvency which is expected to occur around 2026.

Congress and President Biden made a promise to voters in 2020 to boost Social Security benefits.  There’s still time for lawmakers to put down their partisan battle axes and start finding solutions together.  Remember, it’s an election year.  Voters age 65 and up have a vested interest in showing up to the polls — to protect their earned benefits.  Please help us craft TSCL’s 2022 “Seniors’ Priority Plan” for Members of Congress.  We will walk you through a number of the most debated proposals for Social Security and Medicare, and you can “vote” in our survey.  On a few questions, we even allow for you to offer your own ideas.  We plan to supply every member of the House and Senate with a copy of our Seniors’ Priority Plan.

Whatever you do, don’t for a minute think that your opinion won’t make any difference.  It does.  TSCL’s survey findings are closely watched by the media and widely read, discussed and debated.  Thank you to all who have taken our 2022 Senior Survey!