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It’s About Time: Seniors to Finally Get Cost of Living Increase

McCarthy: Good News But System Needs Long-Term Fix

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, who has been fighting for a “Cost of Living Adjustment” (COLA) increase for senior citizen Social Security beneficiaries since the last one in 2009, welcomed today’s news that seniors will finally be getting one next year.  She also noted, however, that the flawed system used to determine the increases needs to be fixed with a proposal that she is co-sponsoring in Congress.

“It’s great that seniors are finally receiving an increase next year,” said Rep. McCarthy, a senior citizen herself, “but we need to reform the system so that the frequency and amount of these increases more accurately reflect the actual costs that seniors face.  That’s why I’m cosponsoring the Consumer Price Index for Seniors Act – seniors need Social Security to keep up with the reality of their expenses in this tough economy.”

Federal officials announced today that 55 million senior citizen Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment next year.

Rep. McCarthy is a cosponsor of H.R. 1086, the bipartisan Consumer Price Index for Seniors Act, which requires cost-of-living increases for senior citizens to be calculated using a special index that takes into account the purchasing patterns particular to older Americans.  It would, for example, place greater weight on the cost of medicine than consumer electronics.

In the last session of Congress, Rep. McCarthy sponsored legislation that would have given senior citizens a one-time $150 COLA increase, in order to offset the lack of an automatic, inflation-triggered increase then.