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WillieW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:38 PM
Original message
Millions face smaller Social Security checks
Edited on Sun Aug-23-09 01:40 PM by WillieW
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090823/ap_on_go_ot/us_soci...

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.

"For many elderly, they don't feel that inflation is low because their expenses are still going up," said David Certner, legislative policy director for AARP. "Anyone who has savings and investments has seen some serious losses."

About 50 million retired and disabled Americans receive Social Security benefits. The average monthly benefit for retirees is $1,153 this year. All beneficiaries received a 5.8 percent increase in January, the largest since 1982.

More than 32 million people are in the Medicare prescription drug program. Average monthly premiums are set to go from $28 this year to $30 next year, though they vary by plan. About 6 million people in the program have premiums deducted from their monthly Social Security payments, according to the Social Security Administration.

Millions of people with Medicare Part B coverage for doctors' visits also have their premiums deducted from Social Security payments. Part B premiums are expected to rise as well. But under the law, the increase cannot be larger than the increase in Social Security benefits for most recipients.

There is no such hold-harmless provision for drug premiums.

Kennelly's group wants Congress to increase Social Security benefits next year, even though the formula doesn't call for it. She would like to see either a 1 percent increase in monthly payments or a one-time payment of $150.

The cost of a one-time payment, a little less than $8 billion, could be covered by increasing the amount of income subjected to Social Security taxes, Kennelly said. Workers only pay Social Security taxes on the first . . .
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
1. ****
(expletive deleted)
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theoldman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
2. Social Security has never kept up with the cost of living.
Last year my cost of living went up about 10%. This included gasoline, food, utilities and clothing. I do not know how the government calculates the cost of living but it is always far below the actual rate for seniors.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:53 PM
Response to Original message
3. We live on SS only, and I can accept no increase this year
as ;ong as none of the gov;t workers get a co increase either! $10 a month really won't do much for me or anyone else, but a COLA increase across all Fed employees will cost everyone A LOT!
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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
4. the people at the bottom should get Mrdicare relief at least, my mother only gets around $700. at 88
and pays medicare out of it, and has to have AARP insurance to help pay essential drugs
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glinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 02:18 PM
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5. Am sure they will raise costs of Medicare to eat up the last percent raise.
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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 10:06 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. they already do that.. every time.. mom calls me to complain about it
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 10:08 PM
Response to Original message
7. Are the checks shrinking or just staying the same?

:shrug:

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