Washington, DC) How is the pandemic affecting retirement savings? Forty - eight percent of retirees with retirement accounts say that their savings have not recovered pre-pandemic levels, according to a new survey by The Senior Citizens League. "There's no doubt about it, the Coronavirus - caused recession is forcing many older adults to rethink retirement plans," says Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. "While the U.S. stock market ended 2020 at an all - time high, the retirement savings held by many retired adults do not appear to have benefited from the run up," Johnson says. "This is exactly why the guaranteed income nature of Social Security is so important," she notes..The Obama administration will decide soon whether to appeal Monday's injunction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. In the meantime, TSCL will keep a close eye on the immigration discussions since the President's recent orders could result in permanent and significant obligations for the Social Security and Medicare programs down the road. We will post updates here in the Legislative News section of our website..Medicare Part B premiums are forecast to soar an astonishing 22.3% for an estimated 16 million Medicare beneficiaries in 2017 - the biggest such jump in nearly three decades. The anticipated spike in monthly premiums, from 1.80 to an estimated 9.00 per month in 2017, is primarily due to the effects of an extremely low inflation that's expected to hit retirees again next year. Medicare Trustees believe that the annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2017 will be insufficient to cover the amount of the Medicare Part B premium increase for the majority of Medicare beneficiaries. That would trigger a special "hold harmless" provision of law..TSCL is working with Members of Congress to enact legislation that would lower Medicare costs, including the elimination of "surprise medical bills" from out-of-network providers, and is working to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries can continue to receive their Medicare benefits through the Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan of their choice..Out-of-pocket costs for dental, vision, audio, physical therapy and other services not covered by Medicare or other health insurance. This also includes equipment and supplies, like glasses, hearing aid batteries, dentures and implants..A third initiative will increase access to nutritious foods for homebound individuals who can no longer drive by allowing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to be used for food delivery services. In addition, the Department of Transportation will be rolling out a new project called the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center. The .5 million initiative will help develop transportation options available to homebound older Americans..Alexandria, VHow would Social Security recipients fix the Social Security Disability Insurance Program? The Senior Citizens League is providing recommendations to Congress this week taken from a national survey of close to 1,200 Americans age 60 and over. Participants overwhelmingly say that they won't support benefit cuts or switching to a more slowly growing cost–of–living adjustment..Administration Making Efforts To Rein In Medicare Fraud.The COLA is intended to protect the purchasing power of the benefits received by older and disabled Americans. A 30 percent loss in buying power over a 20 - year retirement period indicates the COLA is failing to provide that protection. The Social Security COLA, as currently calculated, is a poor match to the price changes actually experienced by the people it is intended to protect.

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The income thresholds for the federal poverty levels are adjusted using a somewhat faster growing index than the one used to determine the COLA. Unlike the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, which does not survey the costs of people over the age of 62, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers CPI-U includes the spending patterns of both younger workers and people over the age of 6Consequently the federal poverty limits increase somewhat faster than the CPI-W and today's COLAs. The 2016 poverty levels reflect a 0.1% increase over 2015 rather than zero like the Social Security COLA..The best way to protect against flu and its potentially serious complications is with a flu vaccine. CDC recommends that almost everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine each year by the end of October. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue throughout flu season, even into January or later..This week, lawmakers continued working on an omnibus spending bill, and The Senior Citizens League endorsed new legislation that would give Social Security beneficiaries an emergency cost-of-living adjustment next year. … Continued

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But when you work, there's a limit to how much you can earn and still keep your benefits. When you are under full retirement age, your Social Security benefit will be reduced for every you are over the earnings limit..Years later, those earnings records may be accessed when a non-citizen files a claim for Social Security benefits..Congress has the ability to prevent these reductions before they take effect, but the questions is - will it do so? Legislation proposed in 2020 would protect the retirement benefits of individuals who were born in 1960 from declining. But TSCL is concerned that some Members of Congress may balk at taking timely action. To prevent lawmakers from looking the other way, they need to hear from as many constituents as possible to take action to protect retirement benefits. "These are benefit cuts that are directly caused by COVID-19 and should be addressed by emergency legislation, or in a comprehensive bill that would correct this problem. In addition, Social Security benefits still need to be boosted for all retirees," says TSCL's Executive Director, Shannon Benton. … Continued

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