Yet again, another year goes by and Congress continues to ignore the pressing issue of fixing the flawed Cost of Living Adjustment (CoLA) formula. Now senior citizens are out a stunning $2,954 that is missing from their average Social Security "base amount." This is unacceptable and The Seniors Coalition will continue to press Congress to fix this issue.
Last year, TSC made progress advancing the conversation about CoLA reform. Unfortunately, bigger issues that affect the entire country, like ObamaCare and the Debt Limit battles, drowned out TSC's efforts. "Last year," explains Executive Director Sean Ferritor, "our progress advancing this issue was stifled and side-lined by these bigger issues in Congress. Every member of Congress I spoke with last year promised to look into and tackle the issue of CoLA reform, but I could tell they were busy and were putting the issue onthe back-burner. This year I will hold them to their word."
The Seniors Coalition will not give up on CoLA reform! This is a critical issue with a serious financial impact on seniors across the country, and every Seniors Coalition member knows it. That is why The Seniors Coalition will keep pushing the issue and lobbying Congress to act, because every senior we represent deserves no less.
It remains to be seen what form of action Congress will take, but The Seniors Coalition is adamant about three things. First, Congress must correct the errors of previous years and repay seniors their missing CoLAs. Seniors in 2010 and 2011 fell victim to economists' and statisticians' charts and figures that erroneously claim that the cost-of-living did not increase. "The way the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the yearly CoLA is severely flawed," explains Assistant Director Owen Thomas. "It does not take into account the goods and services seniors as a group regularly purchase and cannot substitute for another product when the price increases."
The second issue that must be tackled is the way seniors' annual CoLAs are calculated. A specific CoLA formula for seniors needs to be used to do this, and it is called the CPI-E, or the consumer price index for the elderly. Lastly, Congress must create a base CoLA rate because, let's face it, the cost of living will continue to go up even in good years, but in good economic years politicians are tempted to claim that a CoLA is not needed and instead allocate that money for some pet project. Seniors must be protected from unwarranted money grabs by Congress and a guaranteed annual amount is that safety precaution.
The Coalition wants this broken CoLA system fixed, and with every member and supporter standing firm behind it, the politicians on both sides of the aisle would be foolish to stand in the way. The Seniors Coalition is launching its 2014 National Petition Drive to tell Congress that seniors want their CoLAs fixed. Stand with The Seniors Coalition in 2014 and tell your Congressman to do the right thing: Make H.R. 1585 a Law! Make it retroactive to January 2010, get your full and fair CoLA, and get your $2,954 back.
-- April 22, 2014