2016 Senior Survey

Your answers to this survey will help TSCL educate Members of Congress, the media and the public about the views, experiences, and challenges facing seniors as they relate to Medicare and Social Security. Your input helps to establish our legislative agenda and priorities for 2016.

We will email you the final results of the survey.

Are you a registered voter?
In recent years Congress has been involved in a number of debt limit battles.  Budget cutters used the threat of default and nonpayment of Social Security, Medicare, military retirement and numerous other benefits to demand promises of “entitlement cuts” in exchange for votes lifting the debt limit.
Budget deals lifting the debt limit were arrived at, in large part, by closed-door and secret negotiations between House and Senate leaders and President Obama. Do you approve of this tactic?
Which of the following most closely represents the amount that your total monthly expenses increased during 2015?
Of the percentages shown below, which most closely represents the total portion of your Social Security payments that you spend on healthcare costs? Please include the cost of premiums, deductibles, co-pays and any uncovered costs.
Which of the following consumer categories in your budget accounted for the single biggest cost jump in 2015? Please check just one.
In 2015 did you reach the Medicare Part D coverage gap (doughnut hole) and have to pay a higher portion of drug costs?
If you are enrolled in a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan, please indicate which of the following costs are increasing for 2016. Check all that apply:
Proposals to strengthen Medicare
Please check the box that most closely reflects how you feel about the proposal:
Allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. Medicare is currently forbidden by law from negotiating with prescription drug companies, unlike the way the agency does for all other services. (Estimated savings over 10 years, $230-$541 billion)
Prohibit deals that keep generic drugs off the market. Drug manufacturers try to delay competition by paying generic drug makers to stay off the market. When this occurs, patients pay more. (Estimated savings over 10 years, $3.5 billion)
Expand Medicare anti-fraud measures and investigations. (Estimated savings over 10 years, about $8 for every $1 invested)
Social Security Disability Insurance:  
Congress recently passed legislation that prevents a 19% benefit cut in the Social Security Disability program and extends program solvency another 6 years.  More work will be required to bring the program into better balance. Please review the following proposals and check the answer to the right of the proposal that most closely reflects your level of support:
Increase the frequency of continuing disability reviews to determine if enrollees still qualify for benefits. (Estimated savings over 10 years, $12 billion)
Require people to work slightly more to qualify for benefits, increasing the requirement to six of the past 10 years. (Currently disability applicants must have worked 5 of the past 10 years.) (Estimated savings over 10 years, $8 billion)
Prohibit people from receiving both disability benefits and unemployment benefits at the same time. (Disability benefits are for people deemed unable to work, while unemployment benefit rules require people to be actively seeking employment.) (Estimated savings over 10 years, $5.7 billion)
Raise the taxable maximum wage cap to apply the full 12.4% Social Security tax to all earnings above the $118,500 wage limit. (Expected to reduce both the retirement and disability program shortfalls by 66% over 50 years.)
Do you pay income taxes on a portion of your Social Security benefits?
Are you retired military?
The following are options to change Social Security to provide greater solvency while providing higher COLAs and lower taxes on Social Security benefits.  Please check the column to the right of the proposal that most closely reflects your level of support.
Very gradually increase the payroll tax rate by 1% each for workers and employers. (Estimated percentage of shortfall eliminated 49%)
Raise the taxable maximum cap to apply full a 12.4% to all earnings above $118,500. Provide credit for benefits. (Estimated percentage of shortfall eliminated 66%)
Change the benefit formula to make it modestly more generous for beneficiaries. Change would increase benefits by about $70 per month. (Estimated percentage of shortfall eliminated -15%)
Lift the threshold for taxation of benefits to $50,000 for single filers and $100,000 for joint filers. (Estimated percentage of shortfall eliminated -4%)
Use the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) to calculate COLA. (Estimated percentage of shortfall eliminated -13%)
Gradually raise the full retirement age to 68. (Estimated percentage of shortfall eliminated 15%)
Prohibit payment of Social Security benefits that are calculated on earnings from unauthorized work of illegal immigrants. (No estimate from government available)
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