Did Your Social Security Benefit Grow This Year After Paying Medicare Costs?

Did Your Social Security Benefit Grow This Year After Paying Medicare Costs?

Alexandria, VA (January 30, 2012)  Seniors got a modest 3.6% boost in their Social Security benefit this year.  But whether it's making a difference in the bank balances of the more than 39.5 million seniors aged 65 and older who get Medicare is another story.  The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups, is hoping to learn the answer to this question.  TSCL recently launched its annual "Senior Survey" to find out how rising Medicare and other costs are impacting seniors' incomes and
-- in particular - Social Security benefits.  The 3.6% COLA is the first after two years without any increase.  "Here's the bottom line," says Larry Hyland, Chairman of TSCL.  "Is your Social Security benefit higher or lower in 2012 after deducting your Medicare premiums?"

TSCL's Senior Survey also asks questions to learn how seniors think Congress should reduce the deficit.  Should Congress focus on policies that create jobs, spending cuts, revenue increases, or a combination of approaches?  Major reductions to Social Security benefits and proposals to make seniors pay a bigger share of their Medicare costs form the basis of the most widely - debated deficit reduction plans.  "Experts in the know say it's not a matter of 'if' Medicare and Social Security will undergo major changes, but 'when'," Hyland notes.  "But seniors' answers are important because older voters could decide the next election," Hyland says.  TSCL will be sharing results of the 2012 Senior Survey in meetings with Members of Congress.

About 44 percent of TSCL Senior Survey respondents last year said that their Social Security benefit was lower in 2011 after deduction for Medicare premium payments.  Another TSCL survey found that 44 percent of respondents also said they spent at least $300 a month on Medicare premiums and other out-of-pocket costs in 2011. "With the average benefit at $1,100, about 17 million seniors are spending one-third of their Social Security benefit on Medicare costs, " Hyland observes.

During this presidential election year it's important to let elected lawmakers, the President, and their challengers all know how seniors are affected by the economy and how seniors think those issues should be addressed.  To participate in TSCL's 2012 Annual Senior Survey online, visit TSCL at www.SeniorsLeague.org or call 1-800-333-8725 to receive a copy of the survey by mail.

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With 1.2 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Located just outside Washington, D.C., 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. Please visit www.SeniorsLeague.org or call 1-800-333-8725 for more information.