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More Dire Warnings for Social Security - RetireSafe Calls for Action to Protect Older Americans

(Reston, VA - May 12, 2009) In response to the dire warnings issued in today’s Social Security and Medicare Trustees Report, RetireSafe and its 400,000 senior supporters called on the President and Congress to take immediate action to secure the promised benefits older Americans rely on.

“With unfunded liabilities of up to $100 trillion and the Social Security Trust Fund scheduled to pay out more than it takes in by 2016, America’s seniors deserve to know that the Social Security benefits they rely on to make end meet will still be there for them,” said RetireSafe President Michelle Plasari.

According to Plasari, there are simple ways make Social Security more secure for current and near retirees:

Guaranteed Benefits. Currently, Social Security benefits are not a sure thing. They can be cut by Congress on a whim. Congress has used continually used incoming Social Security dollars for other projects – including pork barrel spending. For years, RetireSafe has supported legislation that would provide a certificate of guarantee to Social Security beneficiaries. For more information, go to http://action.retiresafe.org/GuaranteedBenefits.asp.

Fair COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment). Seniors' annual cost-of-living-adjustments are calculated based on the spending habits of younger workers. The formula used doesn’t account for increased spending on health insurance, long-term care or prescription drugs. For decades, the government has maintained an “experimental” index that tracks seniors’ true cost of living.

Repeal Double Tax. Seniors are subject to unfair taxation during their retirement years. After spending their whole lives paying taxes to the government – the IRS still gets to tax 85% of their Social Security benefits if their retirement earnings reach a certain level.

Abolish the Early Retiree Earnings Limit. Early retirees who continue to work are penalized for doing so by earning limits. The limit taxes seniors at an outrageous amount – more than many multi-millionaires. In today’s economy more and more early retirees are returning to work to make ends meet – and being penalized by the tax man for doing so.

Prohibit Totalization. The Social Security Administration has signed a totalization treaty with Mexico. The agreement would allow millions of illegal immigrants to collect Social Security benefits. This is a slap in the face to older Americans who worked hard their whole lives yet continue to struggle on their current benefit.

RetireSafe is a grassroots advocacy organization of almost 400,000 older Americans nationwide. We are dedicated to protecting the options, benefits, and choices of older Americans in retirement.

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