Personal finance

Seniors’ group calls for Congress to send $1,400 stimulus checks to Social Security recipients

A Social Security Administration office in San Francisco.
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The Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2022 could be the biggest in decades.

However, that increase to monthly checks will not be enough, according to The Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan advocacy group.

Now, in a letter sent to members of both the House of Representatives and Senate this week, the group is ramping up its calls for new $1,400 stimulus checks to be sent at once to Social Security beneficiaries.

“We believe that a special stimulus for Social Security recipients could help defray the higher costs some would face if next year’s COLA bumps them into a higher tax bracket, causing higher tax rates on their income and surcharges to their Medicare Part B premiums,” states the letter signed by Richard “Rick” Delaney, chairman of The Senior Citizens League.

Next year’s Social Security COLA is projected to be at least 6%, driven by rising consumer prices. That would be well above the 1.3% increase beneficiaries saw in their monthly checks this year.

Yet that more generous increase may not be sufficient to help recipients, some of whom have had to cut back on their spending on food or seek aid from food pantries or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, The Senior Citizens League said.

Along with the one-time payments, the group is also advocating for changes to the method by which the annual COLA is calculated. The Social Security Administration currently uses the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers to determine those changes. Also known as the CPI-W, it tracks spending by those who earn hourly wages or work in clerical jobs.

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Social Security cost-of-living adjustment could be at least 6% in 2022

However, a different measure, the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly, or CPI-E, would more accurately reflect the costs seniors face, the group argues.

In addition, The Senior Citizens League is also calling for legislation to ensure that Social Security could continue to pay benefits for the next 75 years. The Social Security trustees’ annual report recently showed that the combined trust funds used to pay retirement and disability benefits will be depleted in 2034, at which point only 78% of promised benefits will be payable.

Plans proposed by President Joe Biden during his election campaign, and by certain members of Congress, include similar goals.

The Senior Citizens League’s campaign for fourth stimulus checks for seniors began in September and includes an online petition.

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