Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has introduced legislation, cosponsored by a host of Democratic Senators and supported by us here at the National Committee, to send every senior citizen and disabled veteran in America a check for $580. The “SAVE Benefits Act” follows the announcement last month that beneficiaries would not receive any COLA increase next year.
Senator Warren describes her legislation this way:
“Although the cost of core goods and services is projected to rise next year, millions of Americans will see no increase in the benefits they rely on to make ends meet. Meanwhile, CEO compensation for the top 350 firms increased by 3.9 percent last year. The Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act (SAVE Benefits Act) would give about 70 million seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and others an emergency payment equal to 3.9 percent of the average annual Social Security benefit, about $581 – the same percentage raise as the top CEOs.
A $581 increase could cover almost three months of groceries for seniors or a year’s worth of out-of-pocket costs on critical prescription drugs for the average Medicare beneficiary. The bill would lift more than 1 million Americans out of poverty. The cost of this emergency payment would be covered by closing a tax loophole allowing corporations to write off executive bonuses as a business expense for “performance pay.” The substantial additional revenue saved by closing the CEO compensation loophole would be used to bolster and extend the life of the Social Security and Disability trust funds.”
For seniors who continue to see their costs increase, particularly their healthcare, news that there would be no COLA increase in 2016 makes no sense. It highlights the need to adopt a more accurate measure of seniors’ true expenses through the adoption of a CPI for the elderly (CPI-E).
“The current Social Security COLA formula isn’t accurately measuring seniors’ expenses. Seniors across this nation understand how important having an accurate measure of the increase in their real costs is to their day-to-day survival. While there has been a lot of talk in Washington about the need to find a more accurate COLA formula; unfortunately, that attention has largely focused on ways to cut the COLA even further. Leaving many Americans to wonder what’s less than zero? If accurate inflation protection for seniors is truly our goal, Congress needs to adopt a fully developed CPI for the elderly (CPI-E). Until then, we urge Congress to act quickly to mitigate the devastating Medicare hikes headed for millions of Americans who can’t afford them.” …Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO
Senator Warren talked about why seniors need this legislation on “All In” with Chris Hayes.