December 2, 2015

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I am writing to urge you to cosponsor H.R. 4144, the Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act (SAVE Benefits Act), introduced by Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth. H.R. 4144 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 next year may 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 Parts B and D cost-sharing in addition to paying for health services not covered by Medicare. Even worse, next 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. 4144 will help millions of seniors absorb these mounting costs.

While seniors are being squeezed, corporate CEO pay continues to skyrocket. Average CEO pay among the top 350 firms was $16.3 million in 2014, and the 100 largest CEO retirement accounts are worth a combined $4.9 billion according to new data from the Institute for Policy Research and the Center for Effective Government. Since taxpayers are actually subsidizing these pay packages, we support a provision in H.R. 4144 which would close the CEO “performance pay” tax loophole to offset the cost of offering seniors an emergency benefit.

The immediate hardship of no COLA for seniors in 2016 requires immediate action. For that reason, the National Committee urges you to cosponsor H.R. 4144, the SAVE Benefits Act.

To cosponsor, please contact Josie Villanueva ([email protected] or x5-3711).


Max Richtman
President and CEO