Will Social Security beneficiaries receive a fourth stimulus check?
Although knowing that right now it’s a long shot, the Senior League (TSCL), a non-partisan advocacy group, has launched a lobbying campaign to push Congress to send to those receiving additional Social Security stimulus funds. In a letter to Congressional leaders, TSCL President Rick Delaney called for a one-time Social Security stimulus payment of $ 1,400 for seniors.
The proposal came after the group heard seniors telling about the hardships they face as a result of the highest inflation in decades in the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic. Many have expressed a sense of abandonment on the part of the government, telling TSCL “Our government has forgotten about us.
Stimulus check for Social Security beneficiaries
The TSCL recognizes that Congress is unlikely to take action this year with several pressing issues from raising the debt ceiling to adopting President Biden’s Build Back Better investment plan for America. However, the group hope this can become a major issue next year garner support from Congress if the proposal gains sufficient support among the elderly.
In the letter to Congress, Delaney urged members to send a special stimulus check of $ 1,400 to those receiving Social Security benefits. Such a move could help defray the associated costs for some seniors of the 2022 cost-of-living adjustment, which was the highest in 40 years, pushing them into a higher tax bracket. In addition to higher taxes, the increase could also lead to an increase in surcharges to their Medicare Part B premiums, both of which would completely offset the gains.
Seniors in difficulty
The letter began by pointing out that the organization has heard thousands of seniors “who have exhausted their retirement savings” and started “eating only one meal a day” or “cutting their pills in half because they can’t afford their prescription drugs.”
The Next Year’s Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA as it is called, was recently announced, with an increase of 5.9%, one of the biggest increases in history. But while some argue that the financial woes faced by seniors will be resolved with the introduction of COLA 2022, the TSCL disagrees. The TSCL predicts that the size of the COLA increase will not be sufficient to cope with this year’s inflation, nor previous years of inadequate increases.
Inflation eats away at the fixed incomes of Social Security beneficiaries
The average Social Security recipient receives a check for $ 1,565. While some retirees have access to a private retirement account, much of it depends solely on social security. This means that when a crisis like the pandemic strikes, inflation and other economic impacts can have a devastating impact on their income. Since beneficiaries over a certain age are not allowed to work and receive benefits, their income is fixed. Without government action, they are left in a vulnerable position.
Over the past year, commodity prices have increased rapidly. Consumers paid higher prices across the board as the economy reopened and the supply chains destroyed by the pandemic have been rebuilt.
In September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that during the previous year, the Consumer Price Index for “Index of all elements increased by 5.3 percent before seasonal adjustment. For food, people pay on average 3% more than a year ago, and for many other products, the trends are just as worrying.
The surge in inflation this year has deeply eroded the purchasing power of social security benefits, according to a new update of an ongoing inflation study by the Senior Citizens League. https://t.co/actBRQMr11
– Senior League (@Seniors_League) October 5, 2021
Do lawmakers agree?
The petition to gain support for the bill has reached over a million signatures, but there have been no national polls conducted to gauge public opinion on the idea. So far, Capitol Hill executives have been silent on their support or opposition to a targeted stimulus check for the elderly.
The reconciliation bill includes provisions that could provide lasting help to the elderly and those who will eventually reach retirement age.
- Eligibility for Medicare – the bill would lower the age of eligibility for health insurance to 65, allowing those who retire early to access more affordable health insurance.
- Extended coverage – the bill would ensure that all beneficiaries of Medicare have visual, dental and hearing needs covered by their plan. Currently, these services are not covered by Basic plans, but can be purchased through Medicare Advantage plans.
- Drug prices – the bill would give the federal government more power to negotiate the prices of drugs, which could lead to a drop in prices, more similar to those paid in comparable countries.
Under pressure from more conservative Democrats, the bill’s leaders were forced to consider withdrawing aspects of the legislation. Senator Joe Manchin strongly opposed the scale of the spending. He said he would take a bill closer to $ 2 trillion, and due to the lack of a full majority in Congress, its single vote is incredibly important.