Last night the Senate rejected passage of a $250 one-time payment to seniors on Social Security who?ve been living without a cost of living adjustment this year. To say this vote was disappointing doesn?t sum up our reaction. Especially when you consider how many of the Senators who voted against $250 for seniors…had no problem voting for bank bailouts and Wall Street rescues.Here?s our President/CEO, Barbara Kennelly?s reaction: ?The Senate has unfortunately ignored the reality that despite a relatively low rate of general inflation, seniors’ costs are going up. Health care costs especially are rising rapidly, and the elderly on fixed incomes spend a significantly larger share of their income on health care. $250 may not sound like much, but for millions of American seniors this one-time payment was desperately needed assistance. Assistance which should be as big a priority as Wall Street bailouts and tax breaks for millionaires.? For the millions of seniors who rely upon Social Security as their only source of income, and millions more who rely upon it for at least half of their income, a cost of living adjustment in their Social Security benefits is not a luxury, it?s a necessity. Here?s just a sampling of comments from some of our members this month…?I really need a COLA increase each year as that is my main source of income. If I lost that I wouldn?t have any way to make it. Please find some way to get around this 100% false idea of zero (0%) inflation. Everything I have to buy, the price keeps going up. I asked in the local bank where the zero inflation was. They said it must be another country and not here!? George P from North Carolina
?I have had cancer 3 times and the $1,500 [SS check] only covers my monthly rent and my insurance. At age 83 I cannot work any longer. My savings is fast beingused up.” Helen R from Tennessee
No cost of living adjustment (COLA) this year not only froze Social Security checks at last year?s level, but also reduced many checks as Part D prescription drug premiums and other health care costs rose. 47 members of the Senate understand this and voted in support of a COLA fix; however, it wasn?t enough for passage. Clearly, our work is far from over…and we?ll continue to urge Congress to pass a COLA fix for seniors this year.If you?d like a more political analysis of last night?s vote try this Firedog Lake post which lists the Senators’ votes.