Social Security: Lawmakers propose increase for 2021
- By Sherkiya Wedgeworth
- Oct 20, 2020
In response to the Social Security Administration approving a cost-of-living adjustment increase of just over 1 percent for 2021, two lawmakers have introduced emergency legislation calling for a higher income boost for beneficiaries, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During a pandemic, people are relying on their benefits now more than ever, and the reality is most seniors face cost increases each year even beyond what’s reflected in the COLA,” House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B Larson (D-Conn.), wrote in a news release.
Larson introduced the legislation along with Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee.
The bill, (H.R.8598), provides a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income to recipients in 2021, up from the 1.3 percent COLA approve by the SSA.
According to DeFazio, the Senior Citizens League reports that the 1.3 percent increase is the second lowest COLA in recent history, as they have averaged 3 percent between 1999 and 2009.
The bill takes into account what seniors actually spend on items such as medical expenses, food, and housing by creating a new COLA formula. “Under this new index, called the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), a retiree or widow would experience benefits that are 6 percent higher by the time they reach age 90,” Larson said.
“Our bill, the Social Security 2100 Act, enacts the CPI-E formula for adjustments to ensure the COLA reflects the rise in costs seniors are facing,” He added.
Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, said, “Social Security’s automatic cost of living adjustment is one of its most valuable features, even more so in the middle of a pandemic. But due to an inadequate measure, Social Security's modest benefits are eroding,” and this legislation offsets that erosion.