Gov Careers

By Phil Piemonte

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And then there’s that business about Social Security …

Well, it’s official now—for the second year in a row, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries won’t be getting a cost-of-living adjustment.

And that also means no COLAs for FERS and CSRS retirees.

But if it’s any consolation, some in Congress are working on it.

Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., is calling on House leaders to bring his bill—the Seniors Protection Act of 2010, H.R. 5987—to the floor when Congress reconvenes. The bill would provide a one-time, $250 payment to about 54 million seniors, retired and disabled vets, and disabled individuals to help make up for the lack of a COLA. Introduced way back at the end of July in anticipation of a COLA-less 2011, the bill currently has 127 co-sponsors.

The White House, for its part, also is supporting the idea of a $250 payment—essentially renewing the Economic Recovery Payment disbursed to the same group of recipients last year under the Recovery Act.

Since all the support for Pomeroy’s bill is from the (for now) majority party, it will be interesting to see who supports the idea—if not this particular bill—after the elections.

Just as a note, by our calculation, $250 is roughly 1.8 percent of the $14,000 or so per year that the average retiree currently receives in Social Security.

That percentage—if it were a COLA—would put it near the bottom of COLA territory. Since COLAs were first introduced in 1975, the only ones lower than 1.8 percent were in 1986 and 1998, when the COLAs were 1.3 percent, and in 2002, when it was 1.4 percent. All the rest have been higher.

Before 1975, increases were set by Congress.

Guess it’s up to them again …

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Oct 15, 2010 at 12:13 PM


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