Today, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) applauded the announcement by the Social Security Administration that Social Security beneficiaries will see their first Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) increase in two years to help meet the growing costs for consumers. Starting in January 2012, Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 3.6 percent increase in benefits.
"Seventy-five years ago, America's seniors were made a promise of economic security and stability -- a promise that after a lifetime of hard work, their financial future would be protected," said Rep. Crowley. "After two years without any cost-of-living adjustments, seniors who are struggling to make ends meet can now breathe a sigh of relief."
While seniors received a $250 rebate from the federal government under the Recovery Act in 2009 to help manage the economic downturn, they went without a COLA increase in both 2010 and 2011. Recognizing many seniors were struggling as a result of not receiving a COLA, in large part because seniors' basic expenses like rent, food and prescription drugs did rise, Rep. Crowley introduced the Seniors Protection Act (H.R. 2590). Under the Crowley bill, seniors, veterans, and other Social Security beneficiaries would receive a one-time payment of $250 in 2011 to help make ends meet.
"With six out of 10 seniors relying on Social Security for more than half of their income, it is critical that we help seniors meet today's rising costs. From my seat on the Ways and Means Committee, I will continue to stand up for New York's seniors and be a strong advocate for Social Security, including fighting to ensure seniors receive an annual COLA increase and against efforts to privatize the program," added Crowley.
Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, Social Security was created at a time when the American economy had crumbled and was struggling to recover. Pensions were almost non-existent, and a majority of seniors were unable to support themselves after retirement. Today, more than 50 million Americans, including 3.2 million in New York, rely on Social Security's guaranteed benefits for retirement security or to make ends meet, put food on the table and stay in their homes.
Monthly Social Security payments average $1,082, or about $13,000 a year. A 3.6 percent increase will amount to approximately $39 a month, or just over $467 a year, on average.