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AMAC President Dan Weber Meets With Trump Transition Team on Issues of Concern to Seniors

capitol-buildingSays they ‘are in sync with our concerns’

Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens, and AMAC counselor, Bob Carlstrom, met with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team here yesterday.  They provided a briefing on AMAC’s Social Security Guarantee and the association’s proposal to expand the Health Savings Account program.

“In the eight years of the current administration, the White House never once reached out to hear our views on issues impacting the lives of our members and other older Americans.  The Trump administration is not yet even in place and they are already asking us for input.  It signals an era of cooperation in which AMAC will participate fully.  It will allow us to better serve the wants and needs of America’s seniors in a way that was not possible before,” Weber said.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Weber said that “the transition team is in sync with our concerns for America’s senior citizens including the need for new retirement and health care options, issues that our Social Security and Health Savings proposals address.

“We want a Social Security Guarantee for this generation and for future generations.  It’s not an entitlement handout, as many would suggest; it’s an annuity they paid for all their working lives, a retirement fund that was supposed to be backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.  But the government now says it may not have enough money to sustain the program for very long.  Benefits can be cut by 25% in the future unless we act now.   And, that’s not good news for a population that is living longer.

“What we need is a real and dedicated solution for fixing Social Security, not pie-in-the-sky theories.  And we’ve proposed a plan that lawmakers seem to like.  It involves what we call a Social Security Guarantee, a simple three-part reform that includes reasonable age setbacks for future recipients, guaranteed minimum cost of living increases and a provision for a new personal Early Retirement Account (ERA).

“Our Guarantee proposal addresses the special needs of poorer Social Security beneficiaries.  It would provide beneficiaries earning a household income of $20,000 or less with an annual Cost Of Living increase of three to four percent.  Recipients with incomes ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 would receive an increase of 1.5% to 3% maximum.  And, those earning $50,001 or more would collect increases of 1% to 2%.

“The plan would also phase in a change, starting in 2017, in the normal retirement age by adding three months each year so that by 2024 the normal retirement age would be age 69, instead of the present age 66-67 depending on birth year.  Early retirement would still be available at 62 years of age.  It would also adjust the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) keeping lower income earners benefits the same and lowering benefits for higher income earners.

“Another important feature of our Guarantee is an Early Retirement Account as a way for those paying into Social Security to have some control of how the money is invested.  It’s similar to an IRA or a 401(k) plan.  But, in order to ensure that the ERA users avoid risky investments, half of the money deposited in their ERA accounts would have to be invested in guaranteed interest products such as government bonds or annuity contracts.  Workers would be free to invest their balances in any other investment that meets certain suitability standards.

“Meanwhile, AMAC strongly supports the Health Care Choices Act, which has been proposed in the House.  It would get rid of unnecessary and overburdening regulations that limit the use of Health Savings Accounts.  Under current law, HSA owners are barred from using HSA funds to cover insurance premiums, direct primary care costs, over-the-counter drugs, and several other commonsense expenditures related to their health.

“Americans, and senior citizens, in particular, should have complete and total control over the purchasing and saving powers inherent in an HSA.  This bill puts the decision-making power back in the hands of account holders by doubling the contribution limit—empowering individuals to determine how much money they need to save for their healthcare.

“If President-elect Trump and the Republican Congress were to support these proposals next year, individuals would be able to put away, tax free, as much as $6,550 instead of the current limit of $3,400 and families would be able to make up to $13,100 in tax free contributions instead of the current limit of $6,750.”

ABOUT AMAC

The Association of Mature American Citizens [http://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members.  We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.  Live long and make a difference by joining us today at http://amac.us/join-amac.

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rik

Sounds good…but… how long can we afford to dole out SS benefits to illegals? Not a red cent contributed! Is this new proposal a ‘savings account for those who never contributed? It is mind boggling at the amount of retirees’ money paid out to non contributors. Perhaps this ‘transition team should do some homework in this area……

Roger

Just make sure you don’t stand for anything AARP stands for. That liberal organization has done more harm to seniors than good. Keep up the good work.

Gary Lothrop

I find the practice of taxing social security as income to be ridiculous. The money paid into the SS system was a tax in itself and to tax it again is a slap in my face!

Nancy Miller

All government employees should have the same social security benefits as the rest of the country. That should include people that work for Senators and Members of the House. Truth to be told, the members of the House and Senate should also. Just watch them clean it up then.

HAM

What other suggestions does AMAC have for healthcare coverage other than HSA’s. OPTIONAL HSA’s is one thing. How many middle income young people just starting out do you know who could afford to put $13,000 a year into an HSA? Many have student loans, purchasing homes, & having children. I’m more concerned about what the plans are for those citizens (aka blue collar) healthcare coverage and also Medicare. Will the Obamacare changes to Medicare & Advantage Plans be reversed? AMAC has never mentioned these issues.

EAA

Any serious attempt to guarantee SS to legitimate future recipients should include making sure that immigrants who have not paid into it do not receive it. And removing those who are gaming SSI. I know of one man, an inmate in NY state prison incarcerated for drunk driving, who was receiving SSI because of his “disease.” Another person, my ex-wife’s niece, a smoker, obese and slightly developmentally disabled, lived at home with her parents and received her SSI “pay” as she called it.

JEM

One of the biggest risks to seniors is inflation. Your proposed cap on the Cost of Living Adjustments is a very bad idea. We are entering a period in the economic cycle of rising inflation. Please reconsider this part of your proposal.

Travis O\'Neal

I hope they don’t ask for input from the back stabbing AARP.

Richard Ricks

I would like for the Trump Administration to revisit the procedures for calculating taxable SS income. I am retired, and my AGI is less than $75K; but I still have to pay some tax on my SS income. I already paid FICA tax on this same money during my working years, and now I am being taxed a 2nd time on part of it. Seems very unfair to me. I don’t hear anyone else even broaching this subject…but I hope the Trump administration will.

Angela

First of all we need to totally stop any kind of assistance to anyone who is in our country illegally. That would eliminate quite a bit of money from our expenditures . We also need a task force to eliminate fraud and waste in the Social Security Administration as well as Medicare. The next point is in disagreement with Dan Weber who thinks those who worked hard, earned more money or received a better education therefore having a more comfortable retirement should be penalized by singling them out for lower yearly COLA’S. First of all, a senior living in a big city like New York has a much higher cost of living than one in the rural Midwest. You do not take into account that one earning $50,000 in the Northeast is definitely not living in the lap of luxury. I am totally in agreement with making sure those on… Read more »

grania

Why not just keep it simple? Drop the mandate, and don’t mandate anything else (including HSAs). Have people who opt out of Obamacare sign a paper that the gov is not responsible for their medical care, except for Medicare PartA if eligible when they retire. Part A is what we pay for in our work years, nothing else. Then let the private sector take over and offer policies people would want.

If anyone wants to “buy in” to Obamacare after opting out, they should have to pay the monthly cost for TWO YEARS before collecting any benefits. That will stop the problem of people who would wait until they’re sick to get the gov to pay. Harsh? No. It’s realistic.

Judith Gregory

The government needs to reimburse the Social Security Trust Fund all the monies that it’s taken from it over the years to make it more solvent so benefits won’t need to be cut.

Social Security is my ONLY source of income as I am disabled and can no longer work. I need my Social Security and Medicare benefits to survive.

bob j

The first thing is in normal behavior the “thief” apologizes for the misdeed, but the damage is done. In this case, the “Ponzi handling” destroyed the fund. The myth continues namely collection of taxes for SSI, transferred to the general fund, and continued spending of the fund monies to zero in the year collected daily. THEN insult to injury, not uncommon with thieves, a “trust note” is issued, and filed in some mythical drawer.

How about the “truth” for once, all the “adjustments” the program won’t due squat. Just like the “Trils” owed, when it busts, it busts. Failure is common in Gov’t. It is what it is, a failure.

Roger Koopman

Obamanation care is negatively effecting healthcare for myself and seniors…looking forward to some resolutions…especially with VA, Medicare and Tri-Care for life conflicts which negatively effect retirees…WHY? HOW CAN THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS WITH ANY INTEGRITY GIVE THEMSELVES RAISES WHILE SENIORS SUFFER HIGHER COSTS AND LESS THEN COST OF LIVING RAISES plus don’t have never ending expense accounts…time for politicians to only have what they dump on us and TIME FOR TERM LIMITS SO REGULAR FOLKS REPRESENT US…no more making millions off our backs…get a job if you want to get rich like the rest of us. Also, it must be looked into the abuse going on by companies with temp agencies to avoid saying they are hiring illegals and for less plus not paying fair wages to those who do the work for them…undermines fair play and falsely makes company look innocent…time for honesty and fairness to workers.

PatriciaH

I’m a fairly new retiree taking social security for the first time at full retirement age (66). I only have a couple of other very tiny employee pensions so social security is 75% of my retirement income. I currently work part time to supplement my savings since I lost most of it in bad investments (because I knew I could “fall back” on social security)…very bad judgement there. Regarding HSA’s: will the new HSA’s be cumulative? I hate the “use it or lose it” feature; that totally negates the tax benefits of the plan when you get to the end of the year. Another concern, even though I was a lower-income wage earner, is the section: “…adjust the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) keeping lower income earners benefits the same and lowering benefits for higher income earners.” If higher earners are paying more into the system, why are we punishing them… Read more »

Thomas James Farino

I believe in President elect Trump and believe all of his policies are integral and each part is dependent on the others. For instance, the drain of our resources due to illegal immigration will hamper attempts to make Social Security healthy. Build the wall while improving SS.

Also, I believe in AMAC and am delighted that Mr. Trump has called upon AMAC and that the two are working together. MAGA.

Larry Adams

In one paragraph You make Social Security a retirement account by comparing it to an annuity. A few paragraphs later you propose to turn Social Security into another welfare program by basing increases on income level. This is already factored in when you start receiving your benefits and is not needed again when increases are doled out.

Therese

One more thing that is important to all of us Senior citizens is Prevention.
Prevention of disease not only in us but also in our children and grandchildren.
We see so many illnesses in them at an epidemic level.
Here are three simple suggestions:
1. Outlaw MSG, aspartame, hydrogenated oils, GMO’s and other dangerous food additives.
2. Make available and also educate the public on the need for cod liver oil and probiotic foods, and other super foods.
3. Overhaul the FDA with new scientists who do believe in Food Principles of the ever so successfully healthy
Ancient Peoples, such as Dr. Weston A. Price found all over the world 80 years ago. Westonaprice.org

Lawrence E Kirsch

Repeal the Social Security Trust Fund. Remove it out of the General Fund. Don’t allow Congress the use of excess funds. Put Social Security back to what it was; Social Security Fund. Then reinvest monthly excess into various Bond Funds. Good investments should get 3-5% yearly return. Better than present 1% of congress IOU’S.

Howard Neal

I can not buy into cutting my SS because I chose to work 2 job most of my life to build up the amount I would get when retiring. If there is to be any cuts or lower increases for the future it needs to across the board. Just because I worked more and paid more now I should get punished?