The message at Thursday’s NCPSSM/AARP town hall in Las Vegas was: the government may temporarily shut down on September 30th, but Social Security is here to stay. The town hall, entitled “Social Security: Here Today, Here Tomorrow,” was an opportunity for nearly 100 Las Vegas residents to hear from some of the nation’s leading experts about the value of Social Security --- and to receive reassurance that benefits still will be paid during a shutdown.
First, the good news. Even if the government shuts down at the end of this week because of House Republican intransigence, Social Security benefits will continue to be paid and customer service for retirees should not get significantly worse. Now, the bad news. The impending shutdown is symptomatic of a disorder in Congress that seniors should care about: MAGA hardliners once again gumming up the works of a government which best serves the public when operating smoothly, without needless disruptions.
We don’t know exactly what the impact of any cut will be on SSA, but we do know they have already requested an increase of $727 million above current funding, as a minimum, for FY 2024. Without this level of funding, they will be forced to reduce staffing and overtime, which will hurt the agency’s ability to serve the public. Without that minimum level of funding, SSA’s customers will wait significantly longer for field office services, disability decisions, and phone support, and their already significant backlogs would increase.
NCPSSM participated in an event on the Capitol Grounds Wednesday to call for the repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset( GPO), which prevent millions of public employees and their families from collecting full Social Security benefits. The event was organized by the National WEP/GPO Repeal Task Force --- a coalition of advocates representing public sector workers.
The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare will participate in a special Social Security symposium hosted by former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin and the Harkin Institute of Drake University. Featuring NCPSSM President Max Richtman and other prominent leaders from the national advocacy community.
Tuesday was an historic day in the effort to lower prescription drug prices for seniors. The Biden administration has released the names of the 10 life-saving drugs that will be subject --- for the first time ever --- to price negotiation between Medicare and Big Pharma. They are some of the most common and most expensive prescription medications that seniors take. These essential medications do everything from preventing blood clots and strokes to treating diabetes, and they will soon cost a lot less for the federal government and for patients.
More than 150 Philadelphians turned out at Center in the Park for a town hall emphasizing Social Security’s importance to the Black community, co-presented by NCPSSM and AARP Pennsylvania. Attendees learned about their earned benefits and played Social Security-themed games — including Social Security Plinko and “What does Social Security Mean to You?”
It’s been a busy week for Social Security watchers and advocates. Here are some of the major developments from Washington, D.C.:
The importance of Social Security to the Black Community could not have been clearer in Richmond, VA on Tuesday --- at the National Committee’s first town hall of a new public education campaign, “Social Security: Here Today, Here Tomorrow.” The town hall was sponsored by AARP Virginia.
The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare is launching a new public education campaign --- sponsored by AARP --- to correct misinformation about Social Security and emphasize the program’s value to American workers, especially to communities of color. The campaign, “Social Security: Here Today, Here Tomorrow,” will debunk myths and give workers the facts about their vital earned benefits.