Biden Demands Accountability as Social Security Recipients are Shortchanged
Washington, DC - Today, Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee demanding an inquiry into errors affecting more than 230,000 Social Security recipients and Medicare Part D beneficiaries. The mistakes include an erroneous distribution of $50 million in Medicare Part D premium reimbursements to beneficiaries, as well as incorrect withholding for premiums not owed by Social Security recipients. Biden has asked that the Committee take up the matters when the Senate reconvenes following the Labor Day Holiday. The text of Biden's letter follows:
Dear Chairman Grassley and Senator Baucus:
Last week we learned that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services erred in distributing $50 million in Medicare Part D premium reimbursements to approximately 230,000 beneficiaries. This is an enormous error that is causing both confusion and hardship for thousands of Social Security recipients.
Because of the magnitude of this mistake and the apparent inability of CMS to fix it, I hope that this issue will receive the attention of the Finance Committee when the Senate reconvenes following Labor Day. In addition to addressing the manner in which CMS will seek to recoup the wrongly distributed reimbursements, the Committee should also address the need to halt erroneous withholding for premiums that are not owed by Social Security recipients, as well as the need to get appropriate reimbursements out the door to those who cannot afford to be shortchanged in their Social Security payments month after month.
My staff has struggled for months to help correct Part D withholding for many retirees, but to little avail. I also have raised this problem with Secretary Leavitt.
Seniors across the country deserve to know why these problems have occurred and, more importantly, they deserve to receive the money that has been incorrectly taken from their Social Security checks. I know you must share these concerns. I appreciate your thoughtful attention to this matter and hope that you can bring the influence and expertise of the Finance Committee into the search for an appropriate response. Thank you for your consideration of my request.
Senator Biden also urged seniors who are experiencing problems related to their Medicare Part D premiums to contact his Wilmington office at (302) 573-6345.