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TSCL - The Voice for Seniors

The Advisor
, December 2016

Protecting Social Security & Medicare

TSCL Pushes for Emergency COLA

After a year without a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), Social Security beneficiaries are finally getting a boost in January. But the increase, if it can be called that, is so small that it’s the lowest ever paid — 0.3%. The COLA will raise every $1,000 in benefits by just $3.00 and, for retirees 65 and over, may be completely offset by increasing Medicare Part B premiums.

Very low, as well as no COLAs not only affect Social Security benefits; the amount of an individual’s COLA also affects the amount of the Medicare Part B premium that he or she pays. When the annual COLA is very low (or zero), a provision of law known as “hold harmless” is triggered. Under that provision, when an individual’s Social Security COLA is insufficient to cover the increase in the Medicare Part B premium, the Part B premium is adjusted so that one’s Social Security benefit isn’t reduced from one year to the next. The provision only applies to the people who have Medicare Part B premiums automatically deducted from their Social Security payments — about 70% of Medicare beneficiaries. Read more »

High Drug Prices A Major Issue For The Next Congress

The EpiPen, the latest example in extreme drug price hikes, has not only led to Congressional hearings and outrage over price gouging, but is raising new questions as to why so many older adults are getting prescriptions for the drug in the first place. At the same time the cost of the EpiPen dramatically increased from $94 in January 2007 to $609 in May of 2016, the total number of Medicare beneficiaries to whom the pens were prescribed ballooned by 164%. As a result, Medicare spending on EpiPens rose by 1,151% through 2014, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Read more »

How Would Raising the Eligibility Age For Medicare Affect Medicare’s Financing and You?
By Mary Johnson, editor

Raising the age at which people become eligible for Medicare has been proposed as a way of reducing future government spending on Medicare. The most widely - discussed option would gradually increase the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67. Proponents say the change would generate billions in net savings to the federal government, and that, since people now have coverage through the Affordable Care Act, no one would lose access to health insurance. Private insurers are required to provide coverage for adults younger than Medicare age without exclusions, everyone is required to have health insurance, and income-related subsidies are available to help reduce premiums if people don’t have an offer of health insurance coverage through an employer. Read more »

TSCL - In The News

Issues important to you - Medicare, Prescription Drugs, Cost-of-living Adjustments - are making the news and TSCL is helping to make sure the media gets it right. In interview after interview, our team members are setting the record straight when it comes to these critical issues making headlines. Read some of the latest news articles »


The Benefits You Deserve

Benefit Bulletin

What Social Security Fails To Tell You Can Cost You Dearly

TSCL hears from people every day about the adequacy of their benefits. People who began collecting benefits at 62 frequently tell us they were unaware of the financial consequences of their decision, and were not informed by employees of the Social Security Administration that their benefits would have grown by 8% annually between ages 66 through 70. Had they received better information about their benefit options, many of them might be in a different financial situation today. Read more »

Public Input - YOUR Input - Helps Sway Congress!

What's your story about rising drug costs?

Have you had an experience of an extreme increase in your prescription drug price? We would like to talk to you. The more personal examples we share, the more effective our work to influence Congressional leaders to do something about it. Contact us »

Tips for Retirement

Can You Still Fund A Retirement Account Once You Retire?

Retirement accounts allow your savings to grow tax-deferred, but the rules change when you turn age 70 ½. At 70 ½, traditional IRAs require the owner to take required minimum withdrawals and you can’t contribute any more savings. But you can still continue to put money into other types of retirement accounts, including Roth IRAs and some types of 401(k)s, as long as you have earnings from jobs. Read more »

Contribute to Our Work

We rely on donations from our supporters

The Senior Citizens League relies on donations from supporters like you. Your donation will help us continue to provide educational resources and fight for protecting Social Security and Medicare benefits on behalf of older Americans. Please make a donation today »

Retirement Resources Take action


Join the Effort to Pass an Emergency COLA By Jessie Gibbons, Senior Policy Analyst

What has existing without an annual cost-of-living adjustment been like for retirees?

Last year Alan of Nevada told us, “No COLA means I will be going to the doctor less, going some nights without food, and I will probably have to let my car go … No COLA is an insult to all of us who depend on Social Security for our income.”
Read more »


Washington Should Be Talking About Protecting And Expanding Social Security – Not Cutting It! By Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA)

Our nation faces an urgent crisis: as middle-class families increasingly are squeezed by stagnant wages and rising costs, the dream of a secure retirement is slipping away. At a time when our country faces a real and growing retirement crisis, it is more important than ever that we take steps to protect and expand Social Security. Read more »


How Can We Expand Social Security When The Program Is Running Out of Money?

Q: I’ve read about proposals to “expand” Social Security that would provide somewhat higher benefits and a better cost-of-living adjustment.

How can Social Security be expanded when the program is running out of money? Read the answer »


Help! Social Security Estimates That I Earned $500,320 And Stopped My Benefits!

Q: I started benefits at age 63 after losing my job in 2013. I was able to find new employment the following year in 2014. I received a letter from Social Security stating that I was overpaid for 2014 because they estimate that I earned $500,320, and that I need to repay more than $7,000 in overpayments! Where did they get that? I only worked part time and earned $18,200. What can I do? Read the answer »


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