2018 Senior Survey

Tell Us What You Think! The responses to this survey help inform the public and members of Congress on issues affecting older Americans. It also helps TSCL bring you better services. The results help us craft the TSCL legislative agenda and represent your interests on Capitol Hill. Your answers are kept anonymous. Thank you!

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

1. Which age category do you fall into?
2. On a scale of 0 to 5 with 0 being the lowest and 5 being the highest, how would you rate your Representative in the House on each of the following issues?
3. Do you receive income from any of the following sources?
Social Security (any type including retirement, survivors, disability, spouse benefits)
Earnings from jobs
Pension from former employment, including private employers, military, state and federal jobs
Savings, including IRAs, 401(k), CDs, savings accounts
Rental income
Equity in home
Other, including federal and state benefits
4. Which of the following most closely matches the amount you paid for Medicare Part B premiums in 2017? (Please DO NOT include any deductions for Part D, Medicare Advantage or any Medigap supplement.)
5. The Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2018 is 2%. Which of the following most closely represents the dollar amount that the COLA has increased your total Social Security benefit in 2018, BEFORE the deduction for Medicare Part B premiums? Please check one even if you do not have premiums for Part B automatically deducted from your benefits.
6. Which of the following amounts most closely resembles your Social Security benefit increase this year, AFTER the Social Security Administration’s deduction for the Medicare Part B increase? (Please DO NOT include any deductions for Part D, Medicare Advantage or any Medigap.) Please check one even if you do not have premiums for Part B automatically deducted from your benefits.
7. Which of the following most closely represents the amount that your total monthly expenses increased or decreased during 2017?
8. Of the percentages shown below, which most closely represents the total portion of your Social Security benefits that you spend on all healthcare costs? Please include the cost of all Medicare premiums, deductibles, co-pays and any uncovered costs, like vision and dental.
9. Which of the following consumer categories in your budget accounted for the single biggest cost increase in 2017?
10. Did you pay income taxes on a portion of your Social Security benefits last year?
11. How frequently do you itemize deductions for healthcare costs on your income tax return?
12. How frequently do you itemize deductions for State and Local income taxes?

Proposals Affecting Social Security:

13. According to the Social Security Trustees, the projected cost of Social Security retirement and disability benefits will exceed total income by increasing amounts starting in 2022, and the dollar level of the combined Social Security Trust Fund reserves will decline until the funds become depleted in 2034. The following list contains several proposals affecting benefits and program financing. Please check what most closely corresponds with your position on the proposal:
A.) After the normal retirement age (NRA) reaches age 67 for those turning age 62 in 2022, increase the NRA by 3 months per year until it reaches 69 for people turning age 62 in 2030. 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 Social Security payroll tax rate by 1% each for workers and employers.
C.) Apply the full 12.4% payroll tax to all earnings above $128,700. Currently workers pay nothing on earnings over $128,700.
D.) Apply the full 12.4% payroll tax to all earnings above $250,000. Workers with wages between $128,700 to $250,000 would pay no Social Security taxes on those wages.
E.) Reduce Social Security benefits for people earning more than $500,000.
F.) Provide Social Security credits for people who take time out of workforce to provide care for children or older family members. Currently, taking time out of the workforce 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, whichever is higher.
H.) Use the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) to calculate the annual COLA. The CPI-E more closely tracks the costs of older households and, on average, and tends to rise more quickly than the CPI-W that is currently used for the COLA.
I.) Use the “chained” Consumer Price Index to calculate the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). The chained CPI tracks changes in consumer spending behavior instead of prices, and tends to grow more slowly than the currently used CPI-W.
J.) Lift the threshold for taxation of benefits from $25,000 to $50,000 or higher for single filers and from $32,000 to $100,000 or higher for joint filers.
K.) Provide a modest boost of about $70 per month to boost Social Security benefits. Applying the 12.4% Social Security tax to all earnings of workers could pay for the boost.

Medicare Proposals

14. Please check the box that most closely reflects your position on each proposal listed:
A.) Establish an out-of-pocket spending cap for prescription drugs. For example, cap out-of-pocket spending for prescription drugs to no more than $250 per month. Adjust by inflation annually. Currently there is no such Part D cap.
B.) Establish a cap on the maximum amount of profit that private insurers, health, and drug plans may earn. Require excess profits to be put towards lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Currently there is no such cap.
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.) Allow importation of drugs from Canada and European sources where prices are lower.
F.) Overhaul Medicare by reforming the program into a system of private health plans. Beneficiaries would receive a premium subsidy to shop for coverage on a federal exchange. Lower income people would get a higher subsidy; upper income people would get less or no subsidy. Government reimbursements would be set to grow at a rate more slowly than medical cost inflation and consumers would have to pay the difference.
G.) Gradually reduce the eligibility age so all Americans can enroll in Medicare.
H.) Gradually increase the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67.
I.) Allow younger people age 55 to 64 the option to “buy-in” to Medicare if more affordable than other coverage.
J.) Provide incentives for services that most often provide positive health outcomes based on medical evidence. Provide incentives for avoiding unnecessary and wasteful services.


15. Medicare does not cover most long-term care services or stays in nursing homes. Approximately 60% of such stays, as well as programs that allow people to receive long-term care services in their own homes, are paid for through federally funded state Medicaid programs. A major proposal considered in 2017 would overhaul Medicaid by changing the program from one that provides medically necessary care to all whose incomes and resources are low enough to qualify, to a program that provides a fixed reimbursement per person or a fixed amount in the form of block grants to states. The proposals considered in 2017 would cut federal spending on Medicaid by an estimated $830 billion or more over the next 10 years, but some state governors say that their budgets would not be able to make up the shortfall without significant tax increases at the state level or deep cuts to benefits. Which of the following most closely describes how you feel about this proposal?
16. Are you a retired public employee whose Social Security benefits are affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), the Government Pension Offset (GPO) or both? Check the correct response.
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