June 15, 2017

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. 2896, the Fair COLA for Seniors Act of 2017.  Your legislation would offer Social Security beneficiaries a one-time emergency benefit payment equal to a 3.9 percent raise, which is needed due to the lack of a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2016 and a disappointingly modest COLA for 2017.

The combination of these disturbing developments will force many seniors to choose between paying for food, prescription medications and/or heating bills.  And compounding the impact of inadequate COLA adjustments is the fact that Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket costs have continued to rise.  The emergency benefit provided in H.R. 2896 would help millions of seniors absorb the combined effects of rising health care costs with little or no relief from the COLA.

Your legislation also calls for the adoption of the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) for the purpose of determining future COLAs for Social Security beneficiaries.  Since the current CPI does not account for the differences in 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 2017 and for the leadership you have shown in strengthening retirement security for America’s seniors.  We look forward to working with you to pass this common-sense legislation.


Max Richtman

President and CEO