2017 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 2017.

We will email you the final results of the survey.
(All individual responses will remain confidential)

Are you age 60 or over?
1. Do you receive Social Security benefits?
2. In addition to Social Security do you have any other income? (Please check all that apply.)
Earnings from jobs
Savings, including IRAs, 401(k), CDs, savings accounts
Rental income
Equity in home
3. Do you have a mortgage payment?
4. Do you have medical expense debt that you have carried for more than 90 days?
5. Prior to starting Social Security benefits, did you receive counseling from Social Security Administration staff about the best age at which to start Social Security?
6. Prior to starting Social Security benefits did you understand your Social Security retirement benefits increase as much as 8% per year if you wait to start benefits after full retirement age (currently after reaching 66-70). Please check the best answer.
7. Prior to starting benefits, were you aware of the total amount of lifetime benefit income you could expect to receive from Social Security based on your choice of retirement age and if you collected benefits for 20-30 years?
8. Have your benefits ever been withheld by the Social Security Administration due to working while receiving benefits before full retirement age, and earning more than the annual limit?
9. Did you start receiving Social Security benefits before, after or during 2009?
10. Which of the following most closely represents the amount your total monthly expenses increased during 2016?
11. Of the percentages below, which most closely represents the total portion of your Social Security payments that you spend on healthcare costs (including premiums, deductibles, copays, and uncovered costs)?
12. Which of the following consumer categories in your budget accounted for the single biggest cost jump in 2016?
13. Do you pay income taxes on a portion of your Social Security benefits?
14. How frequently do you itemize deductions for healthcare costs on your income tax return?
15. In the 2017 tax year that just started, taxpayers age 65 and up will have a new income threshold for medical expense itemized deductions on federal form 1040. People age 65 and up will be able to deduct the excess over 10% of adjusted income (AGI) rather than the excess over 7.5% of AGI.
Were you aware of this tax change?
Proposals to Strengthen Social Security:
16. According to the Social Security Trustees, the projected cost of Social Security retirement and disability benefits will exceed total income by increasing amounts starting just three years from now, in 2020, and the dollar level of the combined Social Security Trust Fund reserves decline until the funds become depleted in 2034. The following list contains several proposals affecting benefits and program financing. Please check the box to the right that most closely corresponds with your position on the proposal:
a) After the normal retirement age reaches age 67 for those turning age 62 in 2022, increase it by 1 month every 2 years until it reaches 69 for people turning age 62 in 2070. Increase the age up to which delayed retirement credits may be earned, from 70 to 72 on the same schedule.
b) Very gradually increase the payroll tax rate by 1% each for workers and employers.
c) Raise the taxable maximum cap to apply the full 12.4% payroll tax to all earnings above $127,200.
d) Raise the taxable maximum cap to apply the full 12.4% payroll tax to earnings above $250,000. Workers with wages between $127,200 to $250,000 would pay no Social Security taxes on those wages.
e) Change the benefit formula to make it modestly more generous for beneficiaries. (Change would increase benefits by about $70 per month.)
f) Provide Social Security credits for people who take time out from their job to provide long term care for children or elders. (Currently, taking time out from the job for caregiving leaves zero annual earnings in some of the 35 years of earnings needed to calculate benefits. This would boost benefits for many people it affects but would cost the program more in the future.)
g) When a spouse passes away, provide a survivors benefit that is no less than 75% of the combined benefit that the couple formerly received. (Currently the surviving spouse is only entitled to receive a benefit equal to 100% of the deceased spouse or, his or her own retirement benefit, if higher.)
h) Use the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) to calculate the annual cost-of-living adjustment.
i) Use the “chained” Consumer Price Index to calculate the annual cost-of-living adjustment. (The chained CPI grows more slowly than the currently used CPI.)
j) Lift the threshold for taxation of benefits from $25,000 to $50,000 for single filers and from $32,000 to $100,000 for joint filers.
k) Make 100% of Social Security benefits taxable for taxpayers with modified gross income of $250,000 (single) / $500,000 (joint). (Currently up to 85% of Social Security benefits are taxable for people with that income level.)
l) Prohibit payment of Social Security benefits that are calculated on earnings from unauthorized work of illegal immigrants.
17. Are you enrolled in Medicare?
18. In 2016 did you reach the Medicare Part d coverage gap (doughnut hole) and have to pay a higher portion of drug costs?
19. Medicare Proposals
Please check the box that most closely reflects how you feel about each proposal:
a) Fully repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). (A full repeal would end benefits that people receive in the Part D doughnut hole, end new tax revenues received by the Medicare.)
b) Partially repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), leaving Part D doughnut hole benefits and Medicare revenues untouched.
c) Allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. (Medicare is currently forbidden by law from negotiating with prescription drug companies, unlike the way it does for all other services.)
d) 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.)
e) Set a limit on Part D out-of-pocket drug costs of $7,500. (Even after spending a total of $4,950 out-of-pocket on prescription costs in 2017, beneficiaries still have copays or co-insurance of as much as 15% in the catastrophic level of coverage for which there is no limit.)
f) Allow importation of drugs from Canada and European sources where prices are lower.
g) Gradually increase the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67.
h) Allow people age 55 to 64 option to “buy-in” to Medicare, if coverage would be more affordable.
20. New Medicare legislation forbids Medigap policies from covering the Part B deductible for new Medicare beneficiaries starting in 2020. Currently Medigap policies “C” and “F” cover the part B deductible, which is $183 in 2017 and increases annually in tandem with premium increases. People currently covered by Medigap policies “C” and “F” will still receive coverage of the Part B deductible.
Please check the answer below that most closely corresponds with what you think about this change.
Thank you for taking this survey.
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