Rep. Markey announced today that House Democrats will move ahead with legislation to provide Social Security recipients with a one-time $250 payment. The Social Security Administration announced 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.
"Roughly 1.1 million people in Massachusetts and nearly 120,000 people in the Seventh District receive a Social Security benefit. That is almost 17% of the entire population. For many of them, Social Security is the main income they rely upon to pay their bills and live in dignity." said Rep. Markey. "I am hopeful that the House will act quickly, and responsibly to enact a one-time $250 payment to seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities who receive Social Security.
"I support H.R. 5987, the Seniors Protection Act, to provide a $250 payment to roughly 54 million Americans in lieu of no increase in their monthly income," said Rep. Markey. "The President has already budgeted for this and we can do this in a fiscally responsible way. We can't leave seniors on Main Street behind as we begin this recovery. Instead of helping to secure our seniors' futures, Republicans, are threatening to privatize and cut Social Security benefits, just as they tried to do under President Bush."
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 and 2011, they saw no COLA at all.
Social Security benefit levels are modest -- in Massachusetts 7th District the average recipient gets around 1100 dollars a month. The median income for senior households nationally 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.