Gov Career

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 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Tue, Dec 21, 2010 SOUTH CAROLINA


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 Denver, CO

It may sound selfish but I agree, we MUST take care of our own before we take care of everyone else. If all people were treated with equal and fairness I don't think a COLA would matter. What ever happened to the old work value where you get paid a fair days salary for a fair days work. There are people making so much money and I can't figure how any one person can bring that worth to the table to justify that enormous salary or benefit package. If they vote on our raises we should vote on thiers.

Sat, Oct 23, 2010 Morris Patman

I don't understand. Even though the government says that there is no inflation this year. Why have some things increased in cost? Electricity has gone over $100.00 for 1200kwh., which is as low as our bill is likely to get under present conditions. Our cell phone bill keeps increasing, I have no idea why. My wife and I have put many of our bills on automatic debit to make certain they are paid on time and to avoid penalties, but we are fighting a loosing battle with our checking account. I have quit writing checks and try to wait for all the automatic debits to finish before buying anything or paying for a service with the card. We have already overdrawn on both our Social Security checks this month because my wife is the only one of us who is working and she now works less than twelve hours a week. Our Social Security checks are not enough. We are in deep trouble. What can we do?

Fri, Oct 22, 2010

I thoroughly second a comment made by Joseph Alty..stop sending our money overseas and let's start taking care of this country, its elderly, homeless, retirees and future FERS retirees. I am worried sick about the future of my own children and others.

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 DRH

Everyone who paid SS their whole career gets the whole amount. Because of the way it is calculated (lower average pay gets higher return), they (US Gov) had to make some adjustments for those who did not pay SS their whole careers. It may not be fair, but it is fair-ER. Fair-EST would have been to have EVERYONE pay SS their whole careers, but they did not do that. Even better would have been not to have SS. -- The $250 is just silly (crazy?). No inflation should mean no COLA increase!!!

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