Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

Representing the 18th District of TEXAS

THE SOCIAL SECURITY SAFETY DIVIDEND ACT WHICH SEEKS RELIEF FOR SENIORS, VETERANS, AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES WHO RECEIVE SOCIAL SECURITY TO RECEIVE A $250 PAYMENT IN THE EVENT THAT NO COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT IS PAYABLE IN A CALENDAR YEAR

Sep 29, 2016
Press Release

                   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      Contact: Michael J. McQuerry

                       September 29, 2016                                                                                      202-225-7080

Press Statement

CONGRESSWOMAN SHEILA JACKSON LEE INTRODUCES H.R.6230 – THE SOCIAL SECURITY SAFETY DIVIDEND ACT WHICH SEEKS RELIEF FOR SENIORS, VETERANS, AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES WHO RECEIVE SOCIAL SECURITY TO RECEIVE A $250 PAYMENT IN THE EVENT THAT NO COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT IS PAYABLE IN A CALENDAR YEAR

 

“Seniors with few additional resources and the oldest seniors with the highest medical expenses are likely to suffer the most from flat or even diminishing income. This $250 will be a great help to them,” stated Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee

 

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Senior Member of the House Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, released the following statement after introducing HR 6230 – the Social Security Safety Dividend Act of 2016:

 

“Today I introduced legislation that calls for an increase in the cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for senior citizens. This legislation ask that the cost-of-living-adjustment be made part of the FY2017 budget. Seniors have been denied a COLA increase three times since 2010. If it fails to increase in FY 2017, it will be the fourth time and the second year in row for senior citizens.

 

“It is anticipated that in October of this year the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will report an increase of 0.2 percent in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for the 12-month period ending September 30, 2016. An increase of this means that the typical Social Security beneficiary, who receives $1,234.98 monthly, will receive a cost of living adjustment (COLA) of approximately $2.47 per month, or about $40.00 per year. Seniors received no COLA for 2016 and the last COLA received in 2015, amounted to only a 1.7 percent, or about $20.00 per month.

 

The median annual income for senior households is a mere $24,000, reflecting just how much Social Security means to most elderly Americans. According to the BLS, about 60 percent, or six in ten, seniors rely on Social Security for more than half of their income. Approximately one-third of retirees subsist exclusively on their Social Security benefits. Additionally, the 65,682 persons living off SSI benefits desperately need financial relief since SSI benefit levels are quite modest, averaging approximately $14,800 per year.

 

“Although the proposed one-time payment of $250.00 to seniors in Fiscal Year 2017 represents less than two percent of the average annual Social Security retirement benefit, this modest sum will go a long way in helping the nation’s hard-pressed seniors pay for prescription drugs, gas for their cars, utility bills, and other necessary expenses that too many are struggling to afford. This Bill will request that Social Security beneficiaries automatically receive a $250 check in any calendar year that a COLA is not payable. This additional income will help ease the burden of unexpected expenses and the continual increase in the real cost of living.  For instance, $250 can help seniors pay for prescription drugs, gas for their cars, utility bills, and other important expenses that too many seniors struggle to afford.”

 

This legislation is supported by the following:

 

Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans says: "Seniors are struggling to get by.  $250 may not seem like much on Wall Street, but to retirees on Main Street it could be what allows them to pay their electric bill or buy groceries.  We must make sure Social Security meets today's basic needs."

 

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

"For the millions of seniors who rely upon Social Security as their only source of income, and millions more who rely upon it for at least half of their income, a one-time payment to make up for the lack of a COLA is not a luxury, it's a necessity," said Max Richtman, President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. "I applaud the Members of the Congress who understand that helping seniors maintain their purchasing power for necessities like health care, fuel and food, not only improves their quality of life but also helps the local economy."

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