45 Percent of Retirees See Little Growth in Social Security Benefits, Says Survey by The Senior Citizens League

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Forty- five percent of retirees, report that that their net monthly Social Security benefit grew by less than $10 in 2019 despite receiving a 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment according to new survey results from The Senior Citizens League (TSCL).

Lack of growth in net Social Security benefits will affect even more people, “because retirees received a much lower COLA (1.6 percent) while their Medicare Part B premiums grew more quickly than in 2019,” says Mary Johnson of The Senior Citizens League.

Forty- five percent of retirees, report that that their net monthly Social Security benefit grew by less than $10 in 2019 despite receiving a 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment according to new survey results from The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). In 2020, this lack of growth in net Social Security benefits will affect even more people, “because retirees received a much lower COLA (1.6 percent) while their Medicare Part B premiums grew more quickly than in 2019,” says Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League.

Johnson gives an example from her case files, of a 70 - year old retired welder with a gross Social Security benefit of $1,267.50 in 2019. After deductions of $135.50 for Part B and $52.80 for his Medicare Advantage plan, his net Social Security benefit was $1,079.20 — $29.10 per month more than the $1,050.10 he received in 2018. This individual was among the 55 percent of survey participants whose net benefit grew by more than $10 per month in 2019.

But in 2020, after the 1.6 percent COLA and deduction of $144.60 Medicare Part B, and $58.60 for Medicare Advantage plan premiums, the same individual receives a net Social Security benefit of only $1,084, just $5.20 per month more than in 2019.

The Senior Citizens League’s survey question asked:

Which of the following amounts most closely resembles your monthly Social Security benefit increase this year (2019), AFTER the deduction for the Medicare Part B increase?

$0 - and your Social Security Benefit is less than received in 2018 - 5%
$0 — and your Social Security benefit is the same as received in 2018 - 9%
.01- $5.00 - 11%
$5.01-$10.00 - 20%
$10.01 - $25.00 - 25%
More than $25.00 - 30%

COLAs have averaged just 1.4% over the past 11 years, but Medicare premiums, which are growing several times faster than COLAs, consume most, or even all of the annual COLA for a significant segment of retirees. The Senior Citizens League supports legislation that would provide a modest boost in benefits for all retirees and would strengthen the annual COLA by tying the annual boost to the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers. The League’s surveys have also found strong support among older Americans for legislation that would guarantee that the annual COLA boost would be no less than 3 percent.

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With 1.2 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation’s largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of The Retired Enlisted Association. Visit http://www.SeniorsLeague.org for more information.

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Shannon Benton
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