June 21, 2016

The Honorable Rick Nolan
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Nolan:

On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I am writing to endorse your bill, H.R. 5342, the Fair COLA for Seniors Act of 2016.  Your legislation would offer Social Security beneficiaries a one-time emergency benefit payment equal to a 3.9 percent pay raise in response to no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2016.

The absence of a COLA this year will force many seniors to choose between paying for food, prescription medication and/or heating bills.  Over half of Medicare beneficiaries had incomes below $23,500 per year in 2013, and they are already paying 23 percent of their average Social Security check for out-of-pocket health care costs.  In addition, this year all Medicare beneficiaries will pay a 13.6 percent increase in the Part B deductible and 30 percent of beneficiaries will shoulder a 17 percent increase in their Part B premiums.  The emergency benefit provided in H.R. 5342 would help millions of seniors absorb these mounting costs.

Furthermore, your legislation would adopt the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) for the purpose of determining cost-of-living-adjustments for Social Security beneficiaries. Since the current CPI does not account for the differences in the spending patterns of the elderly, such as higher health care expenditures, a fully developed CPI-E would more accurately measure how inflation affects America’s seniors.

Thank you for introducing the Fair COLA for Seniors Act of 2016 and for your enduring commitment to strengthening retirement security. We look forward to working with you to pass this common-sense legislation.


Max Richtman
President and CEO