Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chris Murphy backs $250 one-time check for senior citizens

Congressman Chris Murphy (CT-5) announced today that Congress will move ahead with legislation to provide Social Security recipients with a one-time $250 payment. The Social Security Administration is expected to announce on Friday there will be no automatic Cost-of-Living-Adjustment for 2011. That means that for the first time ever, 2011 will be the second consecutive year that Social Security retirees, veterans, and people with disabilities will see no increase in their monthly Social Security, SSI, VA Pension and Compensation, and Railroad Retirement benefits. This unprecedented situation is a result of economic conditions, not the result of Congressional or Presidential action or inaction.

“In this economy, seniors living on a fixed income are in a tough position,” said Murphy. “While the formula for calculating Social Security increases doesn’t recognize it, I listen to seniors every day who are hurting. That’s why we’re going to move quickly to pass this bill.

“Seniors who have worked hard all their lives shouldn't have to worry about their Social Security benefits. At a time when private retirement funds have taken a big hit, protecting Social Security is paramount. This measure was included in the budget, is fiscally responsible, and for Connecticut’s seniors, it’s absolutely essential.”

On Thursday, Murphy, along with members of the Connecticut House delegation, sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi requesting that H.R. 5987 be scheduled for a vote. Congress will consider H.R. 5987 immediately upon return to Washington in November.

The COLA is automatically calculated using data on inflation published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). October 15 is the day BLS releases the final economic factor that the Social Security Administration uses to calculate the annual COLA. In 2009, Social Security recipients saw a 5.8% increase in their benefits, the largest since 1982, as a result of rising costs; but in 2010, they saw no COLA at all.

Social Security benefit levels are modest – only $14,000 a year for the average retiree. The median income for senior households is just $24,000, reflecting just how much Social Security means to most elderly Americans. Six in ten seniors rely on Social Security for more than half of their income, and about a third of retirees have little other than Social Security on which to live.



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