Notch Bulletin: May 2011

Notch Bulletin: May 2011

I am 92 years old and live on Social Security.  I live with my son and his wife so am not hurting too badly.  But the rise in health insurance is taking a good-sized chunk of my only source of income.  My doctor refused to take the insurance I had, so I was forced into taking what he would accept.  I tried to find a different doctor but was refused because NO one is taking patients my age on Medicare.  I am a Notch Victim as was my husband.  I would like to see the Notch Victims get the proper amount of Social Security due them.

You outline two troubling problems that we are hearing about with much greater frequency, especially over the past year:

• that your health insurance is taking a big portion of your Social Security,
• and that doctors who accept new Medicare patients are becoming hard to find.

TSCL believes Congress will need to make some difficult spending cut decisions, and soon, in order to find the savings needed to address Medicare shortfalls, while ensuring access to doctors and adequate Medicare coverage without reducing benefits.  Notch Babies who turn 85 to 94 this year are hit particularly hard because they are at the age when they are more likely to have chronic health conditions that require costly treatment.

TSCL continues to work for the passage of Notch Reform legislation.  Recently Representative Jo Ann Emerson (MO), a stalwart Notch Reform advocate, re-introduced the Notch Baby Act of 2011 (H.R. 239).  The legislation would provide additional benefit increases for Notch Baby beneficiaries who first became eligible for benefits, at age 62, from 1979 through 1988.

TSCL also supports a second Notch Baby bill that Representative Emerson has introduced in the past — the Notch Baby Health Care Relief Act.  That bill would provide a tax credit for the Part B premiums paid by Notch Babies born 1917 through 1926.

Senator David Vitter (LA) also reintroduced the Notch Fairness Act (S.118) in the Senate.  The Notch Fairness Act is legislation that would provide Notch Babies born 1917 through 1926, or widow(er)s who receive benefits based on their account, a choice of a lump sum of $5,000 payable in four annual installments of $1,250 or an improved monthly benefit.

TSCL is meeting with new Members of Congress to get them up to speed on the Notch, how it impacts the adequacy your Social Security benefits, and the importance of Notch Reform.  We encourage all of you to take time to write to your Members of Congress about how the Notch has affected your retirement income and urge them to co-sponsor Notch Reform legislation, the Notch Baby Act of 2011 (H.R. 239), and the Notch Fairness Act (S. 118).