Today, Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) announced that the House will soon vote to provide seniors with $250 one-time payments. The legislation responds to the Social Security Administration's announcement today that seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities will not receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2011 for their monthly Social Security, SSI, VA Pension and Compensation, and Railroad Retirement benefits. Congressman Kanjorski co-sponsored H.R. 5987, the Seniors Protection Act of 2010, which would rectify this situation for many seniors who continue to see ballooning medical costs even during these difficult economic times. Congressman Kanjorski is also committed to ensuring that the cost of living adjustment for Social Security recipients more accurately reflects the costs that many seniors incur moving forward, and he has co-sponsored legislation for multiple years that would change this.
"Many seniors have expressed to me their concerns that they have not received any Social Security increase to help them pay for rising costs and medical expenses," said Congressman Kanjorski. "I strongly agree that seniors face more expensive costs as many of them have to pay for prescription drugs and medical treatments, in addition to other expenses. That is why I signed on to a bill that will help protect our seniors and guarantee that they receive the full amount of Social Security that they deserve each year. I also strongly support legislation that the House will soon vote on to provide a one-time payment to help seniors right now. I understand the needs that our seniors face, and we cannot leave them behind."
The cost of living adjustment is the annual increase that seniors receive with their Social Security checks based on inflation. Because costs have decreased as a result of the difficult economic situation, the Social Security Administration has not increased the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment.
Congressman Kanjorski helped introduce H.R. 2365, the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers Act, which would help ensure that seniors receive the cost-of-living increases annually that they deserve. While the amounts are determined by inflation, the rate of inflation often does not take into account that seniors tend to spend more money on out-of-pocket expenses for medical care and prescriptions drugs, and that health care prices tend to increase faster than other costs. This legislation would make the Social Security cost of living adjustments more accurately mirror the costs that seniors incur.
In 2009, Congressman Kanjorski supported the Recovery Act which included a one-time $250 payment for nearly 55 million retirees, veterans, and disabled individuals throughout the country. The payment aimed to help recipients of Social Security and disability benefits, among others, cover their expenses and help them cope with the anticipated lack of a cost-of-living increase in 2010. Seniors did not receive a cost-of-living increase in 2010 because of the economic situation.