Benefit Bulletin: November 2012

Benefit Bulletin: November 2012

More Experts Say Oldest Seniors Need Benefit Boost —TSCL Continues Push For Notch Reform

Amidst the debate over Social Security, a proposal that would benefit seniors over age 85 appears to be winning bipartisan support.  Almost six million seniors are over that age, including all Notch Babies who were born from 1917 through 1926.  Policy experts are now drawing attention to the risk of outliving one’s own retirement resources, and the need to provide a benefit boost to ensure more adequate Social Security benefits as seniors spend more than 20 years in retirement.

TSCL has long advocated and worked for legislation that would ensure more adequate Social Security benefits.  A TSCL study that has gained national attention has found that seniors have lost 34 percent of their buying power since 2000.  The loss of buying power compounds the longer seniors are retired, because typical senior costs are outpacing the growth in annual cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments.

TSCL takes the support for an old age benefit boost as a positive sign for Notch Reform, which is a closely related issue.  The Social Security Notch occurred during a Social Security financing crisis in the late 70s.  Congress changed the benefit formula.  That led to disparities or "notches" in benefits between retirees with similar earning's histories.  Seniors born from 1917 through 1926 received lower Social Security benefits than other seniors with almost identical earnings.  When charted on a graph, average benefits of those born during the Notch years form a deep "V" notch, from whence the name.

TSCL is continuing to work with Members of Congress to enact The Notch Fairness Act.  The legislation would provide seniors born from 1917 through 1926 a choice of either $5,000 or improved monthly benefits.  Widows and other survivors who receive benefits based on a Notch Baby's record would be eligible to receive up to 100% of the benefit due to a deceased spouse.

Over the past two years, TSCL has delivered almost 2,000,000 petitions to the office of every Member of the U.S. House, urging Members of Congress to enact The Notch Fairness Act.  We thank all of you who signed petitions and sent letters to Members of Congress and will continue to push for enactment in 2013.