According to Bloomberg Government, members of the House Appropriations Committee are still negotiating the spending limits for each subcommittee, and they are far from a deal. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters this week that he's doubtful Congress will finish the omnibus before the looming deadline..Research conducted by Johnson for The Senior Citizens League has found that Social Security benefits have lost 34 percent of their buying power since 2000 because the index used to calculate the annual cost-of-living-adjustment increase doesn't adequately factor in the cost increases experienced by retirees. In 2000, for example, it cost 5 to fill up a 500-gallon home-heating oil tank. The average benefit amount in 2000 was 6, leaving older homeowners with 1 to put toward other household expenses. Today, it costs about ,640 to fill the same oil tank, but those who received benefits of 6 in 2000 only receive ,193.10 in 201"That leaves older consumers digging into savings or borrowing to make up the difference of 6.90," Johnson says. "The Social Security loss of buying power for 2018–2019 appears likely to continue to get worse.".The panel discussed the following options for strengthening Social Security, among others: updating the benefit formula for low-income workers, modifying the annual cost-of-living adjustment to make it more accurate, increasing survivors' benefits, and creating caregiver credits for those who support aging parents. However, the focus of Wednesday's hearing seemed to be on addressing the insolvency of the Social Security Disability Insurance program..Neighborhood, and safety concerns. Does your friend still feel safe living alone? Are there suspicious strangers stopping by asking for jobs like yard work or repaving her driveway? People who live alone are frequent targets of scam and thieves..In the report released on Wednesday, the trustees estimated that Medicare beneficiaries will see a Part B premium increase of nearly per month next year, from 1.80 to However, due to the hold harmless provision, most beneficiaries will continue paying a monthly premium of 4.90. That's because experts are projecting another record-low Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 201The trustees estimated that a 0.2 percent COLA will be paid next year, which would amount to a mere per month benefit increase for someone receiving a ,000 monthly check..The spending bill now moves to the Senate, where its future is uncertain. Leaders are not sure that they will have the votes needed to pass the bill in its current form, and many are predicting that the President will end up signing a "clean" spending bill into law at the end of February..Senator Thune also said there are no plans for the Senate to stay in session longer than it normally would to get their work done. That means they will take their usual August break as well as the usual recesses during upcoming holidays..At what age do you think most people retire? According to the Social Security Administration, the largest group retires at age 62 with reduced benefits! Only 4% wait to start benefits at 70, the age at which they would get the maximum amount. Could the fact that most people file for Social Security benefits so early be simply because they hear so often that they can do so at 62? Does 62 become a distorting anchor on our thinking?.Sen. Mark Begich introduced S. 308 on February 13, 201It has since been referred to the Committee on Finance.

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Preventing benefit cuts. Older Americans understand the compounding effect that even the smallest benefit cut can have over the course of several years. DI beneficiaries living on fixed incomes simply cannot afford a reduction in benefits..Our legislative team will keep a close eye on the legislation as it is implemented in the coming months, and we will continue to advocate for policies that would reduce health care costs for Medicare beneficiaries. For updates on our progress, visit the Legislative News section of our website, or follow our new page on Facebook..Also this week, one new cosponsor Rep. Lou Barletta signed on to Rep. John Duncan's CPI for Seniors Act. The cosponsor total for this bill is now at 11. … Continued

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Pet insurance may not be worth the cost Before taking out a health insurance policy for your pet, carefully read through contracts looking for limitations, service fees, and what you pay out-of-pocket. You may be better off putting aside in savings money you would pay for routine veterinary care and emergencies..Visit the customer service desk and request a refund of the overcharge. If you paid by credit card, make sure you have the card with you for a credit. This may resolve the problem. If it doesn't, contact your drug plan, tell them the problem, and request forms to file for claim reimbursement..This year, on Tuesday, February 16, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, will be reading Washington's address. Portman has announced that he will be retiring from the Senate when his term expires next year. … Continued

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