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Letter Endorsing the Elder Poverty Relief Act

March 16, 2018

The Honorable Ron Wyden
221 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Wyden:

On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I write to endorse your bill, the “Elder Poverty Relief Act.”  We applaud your leadership in developing new and innovative approaches for alleviating poverty among America’s seniors.

The “Elder Poverty Relief Act” addresses the long-standing problem of seniors falling into poverty after being on the Social Security rolls for many years.  This occurs when inflation, only partially offset by annual cost-of-living adjustments, gradually erodes the purchasing power of a Social Security benefit for beneficiaries who have participated in the program for several years. 

The “Elder Poverty Relief Act” will help alleviate poverty among the elderly and the disabled by granting each beneficiary a monthly increase in their benefit equal to about $85.  This bump-up will increase for future beneficiaries in tandem with growth in wages in the economy. 

Benefits under the “Elder Poverty Relief Act” will be paid to:  

  • Social Security beneficiaries beginning at age 82 (or older) and to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients when they reach their full retirement age (currently 66, increasing gradually to age 67);

  • Social Security and SSI beneficiaries who have received benefits for several years; and to

  • Social Security beneficiaries with low monthly benefits (currently about $944) when they reach their full retirement age.

The “Elder Poverty Relief Act” embodies legislation that the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has supported for a number of years.  In testimony given before the Senate Finance Committee at a hearing on December 9, 2014, Catherine Dodd, who is the chair of the National Committee’s board of directors, recommended increasing benefits for seniors who have received Social Security for many years.

For these reasons, the National Committee endorses your bill, the “Elder Poverty Relief Act.”  We thank you for your leadership on this matter and look forward to working with you to enact this important improvement to Social Security.

Sincerely,

Max Richtman
President and CEO



   

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