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“Know Your Rights” Informs LGBT Community of Their Social Security Eligibility

For the first time in its long history, the Social Security Administration is providing benefits to same sex married couples, thanks to the Supreme Court’s June 2013 Windsor ruling in the Defense of Marriage Act.  This is a significant development with important financial implications for millions of elder lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, same sex spouses, widows, and children of LGBT parents.

Launched in Fall 2013 in the San Francisco Bay area, “Know Your Rights” is a national education campaign for LGBT Americans impacted by the Windsor decision. The Foundation of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare events are funded in part by the Archstone Foundation to help support a series of “Know Your Rights” town halls in Los Angeles March 18-20. The town halls will include panel discussions with the Social Security Administration, legal experts, and seniors’ and LGBT advocates.  Community partners include the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, the Latino Equity Alliance, The Center-Long Beach and API Equality-LA with co-sponsorship by the Los Angeles City and County Departments of Aging.

EVENT DETAILS

Tuesday, March 18th 

5:30 pm Reception

6:30 pm Program

LA Gay & Lesbian Center

1125 N. McCadden Place

Los Angeles, CA 90038

Register Here

Wednesday, March 19th

6:00 pm Reception

6:30 pm Program

Bixby Park Community Center

Long Beach, CA  90802

RSVP to Porter Gilberg

(562) 434-4455 ext. 245


Thursday, March 20th

6:00 pm Reception

7:00 pm Program

Boyle Heights New City Hall

2130 East 1st Street

Los Angeles, CA  90033

Register Here

The March 18th session, moderated by LA Gay and Lesbian Center CEO, Lorri Jean, will feature panel discussions with the Social Security Administration, legal experts, and seniors’ and LGBT advocates and will be available via webcast for those who can not attend in person. 

March 18th 6:30 – 8:00 pm PT

Register online for the “Know Your Rights” Webcast here.



Seniors and Poverty

The Kaiser Family Foundation has produced a wonderful new video, Old and Poor: America’s Forgotten.  It was debuted at this week’s Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing examining the war on poverty and seniors.  We consider this a must-watch, must-share video.


There’s Good News and Bad News for Seniors in the President’s Budget Plan

2015 Budget Reaction from National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare President/CEO, Max Richtman

“While the President’s budget thankfully no longer includes cuts to Social Security, his 2015 plan unfortunately still targets seniors by shifting more costs to Medicare beneficiaries through increased means-testing, premium hikes and co-pays. While some tout increasing means testing in Medicare as a way to insure ‘rich’ seniors pay their share, the truth is, the middle-class will take this hit too.

Medicare has already been means-tested since 2007 and the number of beneficiaries subject to higher premiums has been increasing.  If passed, this means testing proposal targets even middle-class individuals with the equivalent income of just $45,600 – these are not ‘wealthy’ seniors by any measure. Shifting even more costs to seniors ignores the economic challenges many face just getting by day-to-day. It also exacerbates the retirement deficit gap millions of Americans face now and into the future.

Our nation faces a retirement security crisis.  Shifting even more costs to seniors worsens that crisis rather than addressing it head-on. While acknowledging this crisis with proposals such as myRA and automatic IRA’s, this budget focuses attention on the private sector rather than strengthening the number one source of income for many seniors, Social Security. As a nation we should be looking for ways to boost Social Security’s benefits.” Max Richtman, NCPSSM President and CEO

Taking a Social Security Victory Lap

We have to admit that is a headline we love to see!

For so many years now, the well-financed anti-Social Security lobby in Washington has owned the nation’s economic debate.   They had a billion dollars invested to persuade Washington to pass benefit cuts for middle-class Americans to reduce deficits that Social Security and Medicare did not create. 

The problem with their strategy is the American people never bought it.  They didn’t then and they still don’t today.  Americans of all ages and political parties simply don’t support  cutting Social Security benefits to reduce the deficit.  They know there are other ways to be fiscally responsible that don’t target Americans who’ve already suffered the most in this economy.   Ultimately members of Congress urged the President—and he’s agreed --  to take the cost of living formula change called the Chained CPI out of his budget.  The truth is, deficits are coming down and we didn’t have to target Social Security to do it.

The National Journal summed it up this way:

“After a three-year obsession with closing America's gaping budget hole, Washington, it seems, has moved on. Last month's budget deal, which put a momentary end to the cliffs and crises that have dominated fiscal policymaking since the tea party came to Congress, coupled with a rapidly shrinking short-term deficit, has driven the nation's budget imbalances quickly and quietly from the agenda.”

The Los Angeles Times says “Bye-Bye Chained CPI”

“...the chained CPI has lived on for years in Washington as a potential sop to conservatives in negotiations over a fiscal ‘grand bargain.’ The White House now indicates that it has finally given up hope on reaching that bargain with Republicans. (What took them so long?) So the chained CPI, which was part of President Obama's budget proposal as recently as last year, is out of the budget to be unveiled on March 4.

Social Security advocates are calling that a victory, because it effectively takes the chained CPI out of the mainstream of "entitlement reform." It's a significant victory, but the danger is that it might not be lasting. Recent history shows that the dream of forcing low-income seniors to pay for budget cuts so that wealthy Americans aren't burdened with a tax increase never really dies; it just goes into hibernation.”

Probably so, but supporters of Social Security are rightfully taking a victory lap now to celebrate the protection of our nation’s most successful program.  Next step is to direct the conversation to where it should be...Boost  Social Security now.  

Good News For Social Security Beneficiaries...For a Change

In briefings by the White House today reporters were given advance looks at the President's 2015 budget.  In it are some pleasant surprises for seniors, veterans and the disabled who've been targeted with budget cuts in previous budgets.

"Last year’s Budget included policies like chained CPI - the number one policy change that Republicans had asked for in previous fiscal negotiations.  However, over the course of last year, Republicans consistently showed a lack of willingness to negotiate on a deficit reduction deal, refusing to identify even one unfair tax loophole they would be willing to close, despite the President’s willingness to put tough things on the table.  The offer to Speaker Boehner remains on the table for whenever the Republicans decide they want to engage in a serious discussion about a balanced plan to deal with our long-term fiscal challenges that includes closing loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and corporations, but the chained CPI provision will not be included in this year’s budget."  White House budget preview memo

“Reports that President Obama will not include cuts to Social Security through adoption of the Chained CPI in his 2015 budget is welcome news for millions of seniors, veterans and people with disabilities who are tired of their modest benefits being used as deficit reduction bargaining chips.  While it appears the White House has, for now, listened to the vast majority of Americans, of all ages and political parties, the President has still left the door open for more “let’s make a deal” bargaining with seniors’ benefits.  He’s taking one step forward by keeping the Chained CPI out of his budget.  We hope he won’t end up taking one step back by offering it up again later during any budget talks.

The chained CPI was a flawed idea from the start targeting both current and future retirees. It would cut benefits by 3% for workers retired for ten years and 6% for workers retired for twenty years. Three years after enactment, this translates to a benefit cut of $130 per year in Social Security benefits for a typical 65 year-old. The cumulative cut for that individual would be $4,631 or more than three months of benefits by age 75. We applaud the President for listening to members of Congress and Americans nationwide who have made the case repeatedly that cutting benefits to middle-class families is not the way to balance our books.

Unfortunately, it appears the White House will keep its plan to further means test Medicare in its 2015 budget proposal.  Further means-testing Medicare continues to undermine the social insurance nature of Medicare and ultimately raises costs for middle and lower-income seniors who depend on it.”...Max Richtman, NCPSSM President & CEO

You can read more coverage of the President's 2015 budget in this Associated Press story


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Causeyp@ncpssm.org(202) 216-8378
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Kim Wright
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(202) 216-8414

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