Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur today welcomed the announcement that monthly Social Security benefits will increase by 3.6% next year. She also urged a change in the formula to calculate the impact of inflation on America's seniors.
"This announcement could not have come at a better time," said Congresswoman Kaptur. "In a harsh economic climate, seniors in our country have gone two years without an increase in the cost of living adjustment, despite rising prices for necessities such as food and fuel."
She noted that prices for regular gasoline have increased by approximately 36 percent in the past two years combined and that food prices are on pace to increase 3-4 percent this year.
The 3.6% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin for 55 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2012. Increased payments to more than eight million Supplementary Security income beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2011.
The Social Security Act provides for automatic increases in Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), based on increases in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. The COLA increased every year between 1975 and 2009, but remained static in 2010 and 2011.
To protect seniors against the impact of inflation, Congresswoman Kaptur has co-sponsored the Preserving Our Promise to Seniors Act (H.R. 539), which would create a Consumer Price Index for elderly consumers that would more accurately measure the spending patterns of older Americans.
"Social Security has been a lifeline for seniors in America for more than 75 years," said Congresswoman Kaptur, noting that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935. In addition to several provisions for general welfare, the new Act created a social insurance program designed to pay retired workers age 65 or older a continuing income after retirement.
"Social Security has allowed millions of Americans to live independent lives and given them economic security in their golden years," she said.
Kaptur also noted that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which she supported and which President Obama signed into law in February 2009, provided a special one-time economic payment of $250 to adults who were eligible for benefits from one of the four following federal benefit programs: Social Security, SSI, Railroad Retirement, and Veterans Disability.