Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Senior Citizens: No COLA?


Food, housing and Medicare costs are going up—our Senior Citizens may not get a Social Security Cost –of- Living Adjustment (COLA.)  For the first time since 1975, low inflation from the economic recession is projected to eliminate the entire COLA for all Seniors through 2011. Time is running out for Congress to ensure seniors get at least a minimal COLA in January.

Already, millions of retirees have lost every penny of their Social Security COLA and more to pay for Medicare-out-of-pocket cost alone.  And with no COLA, at all, can they afford to “ride out” this economy?

Automatic COLAs were started in 1975 to prevent this from happening—to protect the buying power of Social Security beneficiaries.  It is up to this Congress –this year—to uphold that promise! Congress needs to know that seniors need a COLA to help them keep food on their plates and keep pace with rising out-of-pocket health care costs.  Even before it was passed, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, was fought—with its enormous subsidies to private insurers –that is still driving-up the out-of-pocket Medicare costs and reducing the value of Seniors Social Security checks today.

We need to help our Seniors by demanding relief from rising prescription drug and health care costs.  Legislation has been endorsed to help raise the Social Security COLA and relieve pressure on seniors’ pocketbooks by establishing a new and more accurate Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Elderly Consumers.  This bill would establish a new CPI reflecting basic costs for individuals 62 years and older—including escalating health care cost – to be used in calculating the annual Social Security COLA.

Similar legislation needs to be passed immediately because Medicare out-of-pocket costs have grown to consume not only 100% of the COLA for millions, but an average of nearly 40% of the entire Social Security benefit check to Seniors.  Imagine the impact if Congress allows the COLA to drop to zero next year for our Seniors’.  This is a battle we must wage for every struggling senior to make ends meet in this economy.  We must convince lawmakers that an immediate legislative priority must be ensuring seniors get a fair COLA next year, and, every year.  It is my opinion, that seniors are already taking a double-whammy from plummeting home values and 401(k) investments on one side… and soaring health care and living costs on the other.  As a result, if Congress does not take action this year? This Zero% COLA will start January 01, 2010.

Rest assured, we can make an impact for our loved ones and the aged: Take time to to write members of congress and push legislation that:

  • provides at least a minimal COLA in 2010 to help with procurement of food and health care costs; and
  • tackles soaring Medicare out-of-pocket costs that continue to erode the value of the Senor Social Security benefit check.


  1. I hope they get this, as it's so important to so many people. I learned about it in a class I took. Thanks for the post, I needed a bit of a review.

  2. I just found out about this, and it's really going to hurt me. Everything I need to pay, including rent, electric, groceries, is going up!
    I smell a rat in the Social Security system. I think they are covering up a unknown deficit at we seniors expense. It's total bullshit.
    jhnbllngr@gmail.com (09/30/2009)