Monday, February 13, 2017

Rep. Engel Renews Push to Keep Seniors Out of Poverty, Reintroduces Guaranteed 3% COLA for Seniors Act

   Congressman Eliot L. Engel has renewed his push to save seniors from poverty by reintroducing a bill that would guarantee every senior a reasonable Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) annually.

Last year, the Social Security Administration announced that seniors’ Social Security benefits would increase just 0.3 percent in 2017, a bump of about $5 per month for the average senior citizen. Engel’s bill, the Guaranteed 3% COLA for Seniors Act (H.R.991), would set a floor of 3% to ensure that every senior citizen receives at least a 3% COLA each year. The bill would also update the formula that the government uses to determine seniors’ yearly COLA to one that better reflects the costs seniors typically face.

“This year’s measly cost-of-living increase would be laughable if it weren’t for the very real dangers it poses for seniors,” Engel said. “Seniors’ Social Security benefits have not gone up more than 1.7% since 2012. These tiny bumps fail to account for the living costs seniors face and could force many to do without necessities, like medication – a choice no senior should be forced to make.

“This problem is made worse by Republicans’ assaults on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Thanks to the ACA, seniors in the so-called Medicare ‘donut hole’ have saved more than $23.5 billion on their prescription drugs. If the GOP repeals the law, seniors will have to pay more for services the ACA guarantees without copays like prescription drugs and preventive doctors’ visits, and those costs could be catastrophic for them.

“America’s seniors shouldn’t be forced to the brink of poverty because of an archaic formula and Republican apathy. I will continue to push for passage of the Guaranteed 3% COLA for Seniors Act and finally afford seniors the protections they deserve.”

The Guaranteed 3% COLA for Seniors Act is supported by the Seniors Coalition and the Senior Citizens League. Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-09) are original cosponsors of the bill.

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