2011 will be the second consecutive year that Social Security recipients won't get any cost-of-living increase in their monthly checks.
They might, however, get a bit of relief in the form of a $250 payment.
First, the bad news about continuing flat Social Security benefits.
January 2010 marked the first time since automatic cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, calculations began in 1975 that recipients of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans Administration Pension and Disability Compensation and Railroad Retirement benefits did not receive a hike in their government checks.
Continued stagnation of these benefits will continue in 2011. There won't be an increase when January 2011 rolls around.
In both 2010 and 2011 the problem for benefits recipients is low inflation. When consumer prices remain low, there is no COLA. Calculated Risk provides a detailed analysis of what goes into the COLA calculation.
Now for the potential good news.
The Seniors Protection Act of 2010 (H.R. 5987) would give those who get Social Security benefits a one-time $250 payment.
The money would go to retirees and disabled individuals, both civilian and veterans, who get government checks.
Actually, the bill was introduced months before official COLA news was announced by the Social Security Administration on Friday, Oct. 15.
Back in July when Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) introduced the Seniors Protection Act, he said it was designed to help folks who rely on Social Security cope with no COLA increase.
"Our seniors who depend on their very modest Social Security benefits worry about meeting their basic day-to-day expenses," said Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.). The one-time payment, which would represent less than two percent of the average annual Social Security benefit, would help them meet these expenses.
Pomeroy also noted that to avoid increasing the federal deficit, when he and his House colleagues (127 of whom cosponsor H.R. 5987) consider the bill, it "will include the necessary offsets to comply with the PAYGO law."
Look for Pomeroy to push the Seniors Protection Act when Congress returns to Washinton in November.
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- Retiree $250 stimulus checks on the way
- IRS still looking for 5M rebate recipients
- More retiree rebates on tap?
- Stimulus rebate confusion continues
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