The federal government announced in October that Social Security beneficiaries will not receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) …again. It is now the second consecutive year the government placed a freeze on the COLA during the recession, when people especially need additional income to pay for basic and rising expenses. To curtail the negative effect of the COLA freeze last year, Congress passed a $250 emergency one-time payment for all Social Security beneficiaries as part of the Recovery Act; however, they have yet to do so this time around. The emergency payment not only assisted seniors in making ends meet but also bolstered the economy when spent.
Not having a COLA presents an array of problems for seniors struggling to be economically secure in this economy, including forcing them to make tough choices on basic needs. As long as the COLA is nonexistent, some form of payment is necessary to supplement the income of beneficiaries. We know that Social Security alone is not enough to get by, as demonstrated by WOW’s Elder Index. For a woman renter living on the average Social Security payment of $12,626 year, it provides just 61% of what she needs to be economically secure.
The House is scheduled to vote on legislation that will provide much needed assistance to senior Social Security beneficiaries and other vulnerable groups. The Seniors Protection Act of 2010 (H.R. 5987) provides seniors with a one-time emergency payment of $250 in 2011. Check out WOW’s newest resource – our e-newsletter on the $250 one-time payment for more information. And be sure to contact your members of Congress and urge them to support the one-time payment!
Communications & Program Coordinator
Elder Economic Security Initiative