Congressional Corner: An Open Letter to TSCL Petition Signers

Congressional Corner: An Open Letter to TSCL Petition Signers

Representative C.W. Bill Young (FL-13)

Thank you for signing a petition organized by The Senior Citizens League on various issues dealing with Social Security that are important to our nation’s elderly. As a Representative of one of the largest number of Social Security recipients in the Congress, please know that I will always work to ensure that those who rely on this program have access to the benefits they have been promised. Making certain that this safety net for our seniors remains fiscally secure in the future is a very serious matter that needs to be lifted above any partisan fray and dealt with in a responsible bipartisan manner that benefits young and old Americans alike.

Ever since I was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1970, I have dedicated myself to ensuring the financial security of the Social Security program. At times, I had to speak out against Presidents of both parties who proposed changes in the system that would cut or eliminate Social Security COLAs or even replace the program with private Social Security savings accounts.

With regard to your specific concerns on Social Security COLAs, as you are fully aware, after a person becomes entitled to receive Social Security benefits, his or her monthly benefit was designed to increase annually to maintain purchasing power over time. The amount of the COLA is based on inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). If the CPI rises, Social Security benefits for the next year increase proportionately. If the CPI falls, Social Security benefits stay the same. Like you, I too have long been critical of this formula that measures the level of inflation in our economy because older Americans have different needs than the "typical" American. In addition, the current CPI fails to adequately reflect the fact that seniors rely more on medical goods and services, which have a much higher inflation rate.

Because of your concerns in this regard, you will be pleased to learn of H.R. 1030, the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers Act of 2013. This legislation would direct the Department of Labor to prepare and publish a monthly CPI for Elderly Consumers that indicates changes over time in expenditures for consumption that is typical for individuals 62 years or older. The bill would then amend current law to provide for the use of such new CPI in the computation of COLA increases for Social Security and Medicare benefits.

H.R. 1030 has been referred to various committees including the House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration. In an effort to be of all possible assistance to you, I have taken the liberty of sharing your support for this legislation with my colleagues on the committee. As they continue to review the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers Act, you can be sure they will keep your views in mind.

Again, thank you for participating in the legislative process by signing the petition. It is my hope that you will continue to keep me apprised of your interest in issues important to you as my colleagues and I continue our work during this 113th Congress