New Stimulus Package Gives Seniors $250 Payments

The economic stimulus package rushed through Congress and signed into law this week does contain a ray of hope for struggling seniors. All Social Security beneficiaries, disabled veterans, and SSI recipients will receive a one-time payment of $250 from the U.S. Treasury. RetireSafe supports this payment for seniors but contends that is falls far short of making up for the rising cost of living facing our senior population.

“Older Americans fall farther and farther behind each year because the government shortchanges them on their annual cost-of-living adjustment,” said RetireSafe President Michelle Plasari. “While the $250 will help some seniors fill their prescriptions, buy groceries, or fill up their gas tank, it falls far short of what they really need.”

During the stimulus debate, RetireSafe offered Congress a menu of easy options that would have truly stimulated the economy for seniors. They included:

  • Ending the onerous tax on Social Security benefits that forces some seniors to include as much as 85% of their benefits in their earned income;
  • Eliminating the early-retiree earnings limit that causes working seniors to lose $1 in benefits for every $2 they earn;
  • Giving seniors a fair annual cost-of-living adjustment based on their actual cost of living, not that of working Americans.

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“Instead of considering these common-sense provisions that would put more cash in the hands of seniors, who by nature are consumers, Congress continues to bailout big banks, automakers, and any other industry that comes with their hand out. It’s baffling that Congress continues to shortchange seniors who have few options to cut their expenses or increase their income," said Plasari.

RetireSafe is also concerned that since President Obama’s signature “Make Work Pay” tax credits for workers are payroll tax dollars not paid, the Social Security Trust Fund will suffer in the short term. Numbers predict that in 2010 the forgone payroll taxes will require the Trust Fund to pay out more than it takes in – making the Social Security crisis that much more imminent. For that reason, RetireSafe continues its campaign to guarantee Social Security benefits for current and near retirees.

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