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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 11:43 AM
Original message
Millions face shrinking Social Security payments
Edited on Sun Aug-23-09 11:44 AM by villager
Source: AP

Millions face shrinking Social Security payments


By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER,

WASHINGTON Millions of older people face shrinking Social Security checks next year, the first time in a generation that payments would not rise.

The trustees who oversee Social Security are projecting there won't be a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the next two years. That hasn't happened since automatic increases were adopted in 1975.

By law, Social Security benefits cannot go down. Nevertheless, monthly payments would drop for millions of people in the Medicare prescription drug program because the premiums, which often are deducted from Social Security payments, are scheduled to go up slightly.

"I will promise you, they count on that COLA," said Barbara Kennelly, a former Democratic congresswoman from Connecticut who now heads the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. "To some people, it might not be a big deal. But to seniors, especially with their health care costs, it is a big deal."

Cost of living adjustments are pegged to inflation, which has been negative this year, largely because energy prices are below 2008 levels.

Advocates say older people still face higher prices because they spend a disproportionate amount of their income on health care, where costs rise faster than inflation. Many also have suffered from declining home values and shrinking stock portfolios just as they are relying on those assets for income.

<snip>

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090823/ap_on_go_ot/us_soci...
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SmileyRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
1. I took a 30% pay cut and have NO prescription coverage.
It's unfortunate the senior citizens won't get a raise and their costs will go up. So many of us have lost our jobs, taken enormous pay cuts to keep a job, lost benefits - after a decade or more of lsing ground to inflation already -- times are tough all around.
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asjr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. The Medicare prescription Part D is
the biggest con game in a very long time. Before it went into effect retail prices were doubled and sometimes tripled on various drugs. And they base their "discounts" on the retail price.
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bkkyosemite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. But do you live on $700 a month and could use the extra $25 to cover the bigger expense they take
Edited on Sun Aug-23-09 12:20 PM by bkkyosemite
out for prescriptions next year or to deal with the cost of grocercies rising or utilitites. It's only seeable through a seniors eyes who buys cat food instead of people food. I am on disability and I need that extra tiny bit to get by. I am not able bodied to work and many of the seniors cannot get jobs to supplement their very fixed incomes because those younger need them or they are not well enough to work.

But I agree with you those that have lost their jobs and are facing their unemployment to run out
(like two in my family) are facing difficult times too. We need to help one another in families as much as possible.

But old people do not have the opportunity that younger people have in having the health and youth on their side to provide for themselves. That small amount in their checks is enormous to their welbeing.

One note: I do not think that those who are wealthy should be getting a ss check to begin with.
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Social security is paying more than $700 a month.
I am collecting $1400 a month, plus I am working full-time. I could not afford to live on just social security. Plus, I am covered by my employer's medical insurance for which I pay $200 a month. I am eligible for Medicare, but my employer's insurance covers medical, dental and eye care, life insurance and disability. So, I will continue to work until I die at my job. My 401K lost a tremendous amount, so I could not afford to retire at this time.
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HillWilliam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. My partner gets a grand total of $825 a month
and there are quite a lot of people who get less. That's it. I'm the breadwinner in the household and since I'm in IT, my pay has been going down steeply since the early 1990's when IT people were the first to be outsourced. We tried to tell everyone else it was coming, but nobody listens to IT people.

Well here we all frickin' are. The rich folks have grabbed it all and the only "trickle down" they're giving the rest of us is the drizzling shits.
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SmileyRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 05:35 AM
Response to Reply #12
21. Actually
I think the manufacturing jobs got outsourced first in the 70's and 80's. The college people mostly just laughed and said "go to college" "get into IT". Then they came for the college jobs.

It will just keep happening as long as our tax law continues to reward greed at the top.
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HillWilliam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #21
31. Memory serves me, you're right
Mills were closing as I left home. And I should have been more on the ball with it, because that is one of my favorite examples to throw at winguts around here who start in on immigrants. I point to the empty mills and ask them how damn many Mexicans are working in there? Right. Precisely none. Those mills were outsourced starting in the late 70's, you are correct. IT followed right behind... if you weren't in one of the huge DP firms by 1985, you were destined to scramble from then on.

And I believe you are also correct that rewarding greed at the top while screwing everyone else will perpetuate the same old same old. Until people get sick enough of it.
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bkkyosemite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #8
18. So are you a male. I get $700 a month ..........I did not make big wages as a female and that's what
Edited on Mon Aug-24-09 12:11 AM by bkkyosemite
I get for the years I worked after taking care of the kids and then being divorced and going back to school and then becoming disabled which is the same table they use as reg SS yes $700 and I know many senior women that get less. I am happy for you.
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JeanGrey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 07:51 AM
Response to Reply #8
24. The AVERAGE amount of SS is 800 per month.
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superconnected Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #8
27. Your ss pays a lot. Most peoples is $700 or under. My mothers is ony $400.
Obviously she has to live with me because of that.
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SmileyRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Trust me, I know 20 bucks being the difference between eating and not
We have very low income and expensive disability and illness at my house. We won't have the opportunity to save to supplement the SS that may or may not be there when our time comes. Many people struggling think their lot in life is harder than anyone else's - which may or may not be true.

As I said, I feel for seniors not getting a raise to help cover that wonderful new and expensive drug coverage. Times are tough everywhere except at the very top.
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bkkyosemite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #9
19. wonderful and new drug coverage....they don't cover my prescriptions not even on their list and once
you go over a certain amount they do not pay for some time 0.....wonderful not at all....
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katkat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. not cat food
Do you actually know any senior who eats cat food?

If you can afford cat food, you can afford the cheaper rice and beans which provide complete protein.

(I'm a senior.)
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
2. What we need to do is restore progressive taxation on wealthy . . .
and to keep our promises to those who are retired.

We can do both!


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pattmarty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #2
14. Ha, ha, ha, you're kidding, right?????????
:sarcasm:
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Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
4. Its not the fault of POTUS on the cola.
<snip>
How is a COLA calculated?
The Social Security Act specifies a formula for determining each COLA. In general, a COLA is equal to the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of one year to the third quarter of the next. If there is no increase, there is no COLA.
<Snip>

http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/latestCOLA.html

http://www.bls.gov/cpi /


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Hawkeye-X Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
6. It'll take an act of Congress to raise the SS for next year
I expect that the Congress will stick an amendment to adjust the index to meet Medicare coverage so they don't lose money for the next two years.

Hawkeye-X
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arikara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
7. For shame
Politicians don't go without pay raises and great bennies. And even worse, there is ALWAYS money to increase funding for "defense" AKA war on terra and they continue to print truckloads of money towards welfare for crooked CEOs and their corporations.

But ensure that Gram and Gramps can live in some well deserved dignity for their golden years?
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dana_b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. oh, but they go on the congressional floor
declaring their "love" for their mothers and fathers! As Michael Moore says "they love their mothers, but the problem is they don't care about OUR mothers".

It's true.
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grilled onions Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #7
16. You Are So Right!
They are so casual about healthcare(while all the time they get it)and always feel that war is more important then securing a liveable enviroment for seniors and the disabled and those under employed,underinsured,under paid. I would like to see their flippant attitude if they all of a sudden were cut off from healthcare,a sizeable paycheck,bonus's,perks,and had no where to turn. If they were struggling with poor health while having family members in dire straights,out of work,poor health etc. Families are forced to pile in to help pay extreme rents while also trying to feed the brood.
Everything goes up from food to tranportation. Rent,taxes,medical bills are never ending. Such a sad state of affairs when those who are representing us only represent themselves.
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Iowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:53 PM
Response to Original message
10. The COLA formula is a sham...
It does not reflect the true cost of living, and everybody knows it. If we had an honest COLA formula, and the cost of living had truly gone down, I don't think anyone would be complaining about this. Actually, with an honest COLA formula, there would be increases next year. And I-Bonds wouldn't be at zero % (this impacts investments too), and TIPS wouldn't be in negative territory. And wages, which are often based on the COLA, would be higher. What we're seeing here is theft by computation. This is the easiest form of theft because it's very gradual and difficult for the public to see. But it involves the theft of MASSIVE amounts of money, and a great deal of that money is finding its way into the pockets of the wealthiest among us.

Fix the COLA formula, remove the cap on FICA payments, restore taxes on the highest earners to where they were during 50s, increase inheritance taxes on estates worth more than _______ (pick a number), and move to single-payer health care. Taking these steps would solve many of the problems this country faces.
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WePurrsevere Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #10
17. COLA also doesn't take into consideration the newest trick
most companies are now pulling... inflation by package size/weight. We're now paying more for less product so we need to buy more to get the same amount we did before.

What I know is that the reality of what our costs are to live are not what "COLA" says it is. DH and I are both disabled and what little we get doesn't go anywhere near as far as it did.
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katkat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 03:37 PM
Response to Original message
15. disingenuous headline
Edited on Sun Aug-23-09 03:42 PM by katkat
That headline is disingenuous. SS is not going down, medical costs are (what a surprise) going up.

Say, what about Obama's campaign promise about no federal income tax for Seniors making less than $50,000 a year? That would nicely fix the prescription med problem and the food or rent choice problem. Oops, he seems to have forgotten that. Didn't even have the courtesy to say, no, I'm not doing that.

Yes, I know it sucks for everyone making less than $50,000 a year, but as noted by another poster, when you're old, physically creeky, etc. you have a lot fewer options for replacing income. And most of us have worked for 40+ years paying our dues.

By the way, it's not clear to me that there is an increase in inflation except for health costs (and we know how to fix the latter.) Over at Demconwatch, which I used to read a lot before they degenerated into spending their time on the latest sex scandal of the day, there was a little survey awhile back and opinion about inflation wrs food and so on was mixed.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 02:14 AM
Response to Original message
20. Why is everyone getting angry at each other?
It's true that times are tough for everyone but don't forget who is to blame for that. It doesn't help for people to be divided since everyone has been conned by the crooks who sold out this country.

There was plenty of money to bail out Wall St. billionaires but not enough to keep promises to those who worked hard and paid into the system all of their lives. I am amazed that anyone has the gall to suggest depriving people of money, young or old after rolling over the public and handing over billions to the thieves on Wall St.

Even after Paulson came crying to Congress for hundreds of billions of dollars to help out his friends at Goldman Sachs, we saw the reports of tens of thousands of dollars being wasted on luxurious conventions which is probably still going on. There IS money apparently, for those who cannot seem to have enough of it.

People who worked all their lives and paid into the SS fund should not be victimized as long as we have trillions to spend on wars and weapons and on bailing out the crooks who destroyed the economy of this country.

And speaking of that, have any of them been held accountable for that massive corruption that has caused all these problems? Are there any plans to do so or are they all off the hook now, back to business as usual?

Sometimes I think we get what we deserve.
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superconnected Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #20
29. Excellent post!
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 06:10 AM
Response to Original message
22. People who depend solely..
... on SS for their survival are indeed in a pickle.

Those who will depend on it in the future are just plain stupid.
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superconnected Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #22
28. Actually it doesn't have to do with intelligence. Most don't intend to have to depend on it.
Just like most 40 year olds right now didn't intend on being on unemployment until theirs ran out and still coudln't find a job. And most home owners didn't intend to lose their houses - not by arm loans, but because they lost their jobs.
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ohio2007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 07:35 AM
Response to Original message
23. No COLA this year. Welcome to my world.
guess having a job with a stagnant wage is better then those living in the jobless depression counting down the weeks until govt handouts stop.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 11:35 AM
Response to Original message
25. Plenty of working people rarely, if ever, get raises these days.

I'm sorry they aren't getting a COLA adjustment, but they aren't the only ones with the same income while costs keep going up and up.


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ohio2007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. Why doesn't congress vote YES to bail out senior citizens and the poor? ...oh wait..... no kick back
Doesn't AARP buy enough songressman to get a bailout bill passed ?


Rassmussen still tracking the approval ratings of congress ?



http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0809/26341.html
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #26
30. Doesn't AARP buy enough songressman to get a bailout bill passed ?
Actually, they already did - you do know that AARP is NOT a seniors advocacy group, but an insurance company umbrella group, didn't you? When the insurance companies got their bailout, THAT was AARP's bailout.
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