10.18.16

After New Social Security Cost-of-Living Announcement, Senator Baldwin Renews Call to Pass the SAVE Benefits Act to Provide Emergency Payments to Seniors, Veterans, and Other Americans

Despite rising core expenses, seniors, veterans, and Americans with disabilities to receive only 0.3 percent COLA increase in 2017 after facing a zero COLA in 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today in renewing their call for Congress to pass the Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act, which would boost Social Security and other critical benefits for seniors, veterans, and Americans with disabilities. This follows today's announcement by the Social Security Administration that the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be 0.3 percent for 2017, after a zero COLA in 2016.  Baldwin sponsors the legislation in the Senate with 22 Senate Democrats.

"Every month, thirty percent of Wisconsin's seniors depend on Social Security as their only source of income to pay their bills. This means they are relying on a promise that must be kept," Senator Baldwin said. "With no cost-of-living adjustment last year, and an extremely small increase this year, seniors are struggling. Congress must take action and pass the SAVE Benefits Act to make sure seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and other Americans are able to make ends meet."

The SAVE Benefits Act would give about 70 million seniors, veterans, Americans with disabilities, and others an emergency payment equal to 3.9 percent of the average annual Social Security benefit, about $581 - the same percentage raise that top CEOs received last year.

A $581 increase could cover almost three months of groceries for seniors or a year's worth of out-of-pocket costs on critical prescription drugs for the average Medicare beneficiary. The bill would lift more than 1 million Americans out of poverty. The cost of this emergency payment would be covered by closing a tax loophole allowing corporations to write off executive bonuses as a business expense for "performance pay." The substantial additional revenue saved by closing the CEO compensation loophole would be used to bolster and extend the life of the Social Security and Disability trust funds.