U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today applauded an upcoming 3.6 percent increase in benefits for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries that will take effect in January 2012. This will be the first Cost-Of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for Social Security beneficiaries since 2009.
"A Social Security cost of living increase is welcome news for the 95,000 individuals in the Eighth Congressional District who will benefit from this long overdue adjustment. We have all seen costs rise during this economic crisis. Increased costs have hit seniors, as well as disabled Americans, particularly hard. Our seniors have been forced to stretch their monthly checks further and further, with no relief during the past two years," said Pascrell, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over Social Security. "The Social Security program was established to create stability for retired Americans. Beneficiaries should not have to choose between paying for their medications and buying food as they hope for a cost-of-living adjustment."
Social Security beneficiaries have not had a Cost-Of-Living Adjustment (COLA) since 2009 because of the formula used to calculate the increase. To help Social Security beneficiaries during this difficult time, Congress provided a onetime $250 payment in 2009 as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Congressman Pascrell also cosponsored H.R. 2590, the Seniors Protection Act, to provide this $250 payment again in 2011.
Congressman Pascrell has long been critical of the current COLA formula. He is a cosponsor of H.R. 456, the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers Act, which would permanently fix the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) formula to avoid ongoing uncertainty for beneficiaries. The bill requires the Social Security Administration to use a new consumer price index, the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers, in their computation of annual cost-of-living increases for beneficiaries.