Advocacy / AMAC Action On Capitol Hill / Politics / Press Releases

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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Mark
4 years ago

With regard to social security people talk about increasing the payout but are ignoring what is being taken away due to the taxation (to some extent a second time) on social security benefits. Some suggestions you could make to the new administration:
1. Change the 50% and 85% provisional income thresholds that were set over 30 years and 20 years ago respectively to inflation indexed current year values and indexing those threshold for inflation on an ongoing basis. Taxation now starts with total income near 2 times the poverty level. Move it back to 5 times the poverty level where it started.
2. Eliminate the marriage penalty by changing the provisional income threshold for married taxpayers from less than 1.3 times the single threshold to 2 times the single threshold. Some seniors contemplating remarriage find they are not taxed when single but would be if married.
3. Remove tax free income from the provisional income calculation. Why should income that is not federally taxed cause social security income to be taxed?
4. Credit ALL revenue from taxing Social Security benefits to just the OASI and DI trust funds by no longer sending second tier Social Security revenue to the Medicare Part A trust fund and replacing that lost revenue from some other source. We need to decouple the social security and medicare trust fund from each other.

Rick Bullard
4 years ago

Is there any talk about the 52% Medicare costs of 2016 that didn’t get passed along to seniors in 2016, but are now showing up on our statements as a complete takeaway of our .3% Social Security COLA increase. By my calculations seniors won’t be seeing any net takehome pay increase for a very long time.

Frugalone
4 years ago

I really do not care for your SS plan. It sounds too much like a progressive distribute the wealth plan. A better option would be to completely remove SS and Medicare out of the General Fund and put a lock box on it and no one can ever raid either plan again. Also, SS should not be taxed. For children who lose a parent should only receive SSI if they are disabled or the surviving parent can not support them on their present income. SS has become more than a retirement plan and we are paying for people to stay at home who could very well train to do job even if they have to move. When I graduated from High School I had to leave my community to find work and I think this should be a requirement if work is unavailable in your area you should have to find work outside your community to contribute to society.

Larry
4 years ago

I like a lot about the article and the proposal, but feel that your phase-in of the increased full retirement age from 67 to 69 is too soon. The phase-in of the increase from a full retirement age from 65 to 68 was in the 1983 Social Security amendments and did not start to take effect until 2003. Given that there were 3 years to phase in with a 20-year delay, it would seem more reasonable that a 2-year phase-in wouldn’t begin for approximately 13 years (or around 2030 instead of 2024). I’m 71 and retired on SSA, but still working so it doesn’t affect me, but I’m concerned about those in their late 50’s or early 60’s for whom this would represent a major upheaval in retirement planning.

Darlene Wilkinson
4 years ago

Please also discuss rescinding the “Windfall Elimination Provision” with our new President. It cut my S.S. benefits nearly in half !!! after working 22 years contributing to S.S.

Scottar
4 years ago

This is a fair approach of means testing but my understanding is there has been continuing borrowing by the government from the SS funds in a round about way. Somehow the feds should repay those funds.

I think the new enrollees should have a choice between SS and a required private account with appropriate financial advice. It’s not hard to do with the internet availability.

Michael
4 years ago

American business does not want workers in the 50+ age range…most are on their last leggs before age 60…do not raise the current age limits…the funding for social security needs to be held in a special fund…those that pay in get their benefits…other programs for assistance…should be funded by other government means

John
4 years ago

What you have presented represents well thought-out ideas. They should get wide support.

murf appling
4 years ago

the major problem with S S is the “reforming” of its original intentions – supplemental $$$’s for “old age, survivalship, disability, income” – it was never designed to purchase wheelchairs, knee braces, prescription drugs, glasses, & Lord knows what else is advertised as “Free, no deductible, no cost to you”, if U R on S S or Medicare!! When U put N $100k & takeout $300k the program survives by only 2 avenues – reduce benefits or increase taxes on our children, grandchildren, & our neighbors children & grandchildren!! All N favor of these, please raise UR hand!! Very few of my students, over the 20 yrs I was N a public school classroom, ever raised their hand. Very few answered the following question: “why should U or or classmates, or your parents, or your neighbors, or your fellow citizens pay for Mr. Appling’s health insurance?” They should not!! Taking care of yourself is Biblical & a personal responsibility!!

the major key to “protecting” S S for our “posterity” is to allow “private investment” of a portion, based on a personal idea of what financial objectives the individual wants to achieve. URS truly joined the workforce N Sept of 1972 – President Richard Nixon was elected the following Nov – the DJIA was sitting, rounded off, on 1000 – not counting previous employment, from ages 17-22, both part time & paid on a “cash” bais, if URS truly (plus fellow “Baby Boomers”) had been given the option to invest $50.00/$75.00/mth, in American Free Enterprise, instead of U. S. Treasury Bonds, “glorified IOU”s”, S. S. & Medicare/Medicade/Affordable Care Act/whatever U want to design would be unnecessary & unneeded – do the math – modest 6%-8% rate of return & the Biblical act of “compounding interest” – 42 yrs later – “meet the Millionaire next door”! The DJIA is over 19,000!! No one loses a penny!! Explain how the former Senate Majority Ldr, the distinguished gentleman from NV, Harry Reid, can make the statement, “we do not want to put our seniors in the risky stock market”, (where he makes sizeable returns on the $$$ we pay him)! Markets go up & down, based on supply & demand, however, S. S. is a “long term” vehicle – U “dollar cost average” &
U do not lose!! UR biggest headache is “sheltering income” so Uncle Sam can keep his hands to himself!! The Democrats philosophy has always been “U take 100% of the risk, & we take 28%-34% of the profits”! One fantastic business plan – too bad we cannot operate under such a guise!!

murf appling, BS.Ed, MA.Ed
germantown, TN

MeToo
4 years ago

Did anyone ever take note of the fact that while Social Security is nearing bankruptcy, welfare never will? The system has to be gutted altogether. The people who worked all their lives are second to the people who may have never worked in their lives, and the guaranty of Social Security should go to those who earned it.

MeToo
4 years ago
Reply to  MeToo

In addition, it was the Democraps who started taxing Social Security after the promise was that it would be tax free. Talk about hitting someone who’s already down!

Rick
4 years ago

Mr. Weber needs to remember to represent his members. Most are here because they were looking for a conservative answer to AARP, not to promote further government handouts like his fixation on a tiny SS raise he was pushing this past year!

Jess Norris
4 years ago

I spent 22 years in the U.S. Navy. Well over the 40 quarters necessary to get full Social Security. However my second career was with the city of San Diego. A city that has opted out of Social Security. Because of that The Social Security Administration sees fit to take away a portion of my Social Security. How is this not outright theft? My wife spent those years taking care of home and children. Her Social Security then is based on mine. Since mine is about a third less then it should so is hers. Theft times two! Every time I hear the term “Thank you for your service” It seems a little hollow.

Bert
4 years ago

Social Security should be run as an independent entity. Congress has proven they should never have control of SSN and return all monies with interest they used for other programs or peoples that did not contribute. Namely illegal’s immigrants and various welfare benefits taken from SSN fund. Just because we are living longer doesn’t mean the retirement age should be raised. I am 76 and working but not as efficiently or as healthy when I was 65 and I am not doing heavy physical work. Make the fund last longer by adding government employees and keep it away from the folks that but the country in dept.

DAVID COCHRAN
4 years ago

NO handouts……..SS is quick to go after money mistakes and RECLAIM over payments it made because it is slow trying to figure out your claim and registration dates and excess wages penalties. They should not SPEND MY MONEY to pay people who don’t put in ANY money

Larry W
4 years ago

We need to finally repeal the Windfall Elimination Exemption and the Government Pension Offset so those who earned their minimum pensions, can receive
the whole pension to which they are entitled.The amount to which I am entitled has been reduced from approximately $500.00 per month to $65.00 per month .
This is hardly fair!

Wayne Osenga
4 years ago

Thanks AMAC and the Trump Transition Team!! While there has as yet been no changes, every time we receive a news release from the transition team, I and I’m sure many seniors feel like there is once again HOPE for our future instead of the dread we have been feeling the past few decades!! THANK YOU and keep up the good work of “making America great again!!!” You are off to a VERY good start!!! Now let’s stop feeding unpayed for Social Securtiy benefits to those who are NOT eligible, meaning illegal aliens!!! Thanks again!!!

Rich
4 years ago

I, like many senior citizens have worked hard all our lives and we depend on our SS benefits to live. This “socialist” administration has been spending our money uselessly for years and now will not give seniors a cost of living increase – for 2 years now – so they have money to give to terrorist, and other illegals, entering our country. And we seniors are getting angry. Very angry.

SL Branch
4 years ago

Two things i would like addressed as soon as possible:

1. As mentioned by others STOP all “benefits” to illegals. (No wonder they want to come here. They live off the sweat of our brow, not their own sweat.) Not just the SS but all benefits.

2. Make it illegal to reappropriate funds from SS and Medicare, to other programs not related to senior citizens, their health, welfare and benefit.

Linda Coulter
4 years ago

I have heard a bit about the Canada Pension Plan, which seems to be successful in meeting the needs of people there. Perhaps there is something to be learned from their plan when it comes to handling our Social Security.

Maggie
4 years ago

If the thieving government just put back our hard earned money they stole from our social security, we wouldn’t have the problems of no money now!!! Living on the benefits I get at this time is a struggle. I’d like to see politicians live on what senior citizens are having to live on; then we’d have a solution and fast!

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