Politics / Press Releases

Good News: A 2018 Increase for Social Security Beneficiaries, But More Needs to Be Done, says AMAC

social security WEP provision benefitWASHINGTON, DC – The good news is that Social Security beneficiaries will get a 2% boost in their checks in 2018 compared to the stingy three-tenths-of one-percent increase awarded in 2017, according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC].  “And, of course you will recall that in 2016 the Obama Administration saw fit to skip paying out a cost of living raise completely.”

The bad news, says Weber, is that Social Security still needs fixing.  The population is aging and people are living longer, thanks to the miracles of modern medicine.  “And, that is causing a drain on the funds available to pay benefits in the years ahead.  If we sit around and twiddle our thumbs we surely would see benefits reduced sometime in the not-so-distant future.  But that does not have to be.  For one thing, we can up the eligibility age just enough to help balance the books and we can make other changes.

When the Social Security Administration announced the increased 2018 COLA payout, it also announced that the maximum amount of earnings subject to the SSA payroll tax would also increase.  It will go from the current $127,200 to $128,700.  But there is a lot more that can to be done, Weber insists.

He says that, for example, AMAC is promoting a legislative proposal that would restore solvency to Social Security. It would include a provision to increase the retirement age at which time individuals would be eligible for benefits.  It would add three months each year in the coming years so that the normal retirement age would increase to age 69 in time, instead of the present age 66-67.

Weber points out that for many elderly Americans, Social Security is what puts food on their tables.  It’s their principal source of income, meager as it might be, and they would face cruel hardships if their monthly checks were cut.  So, he says, the proposal would increase the benefits paid to lower income earners but would gradually lower benefits for higher income earners.

“Surely, the needs of poorer beneficiaries must be addressed more completely and our solution, AMAC’s Social Security Guarantee would do just that.  It would provide beneficiaries earning a household income of $20,000 or less with an annual COLA of three to four percent.  Recipients with incomes ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 would receive an annual cost of living increase of 1.5% to 3% maximum.  And, those earning $50,001 or more would collect increases of 1% to 2%.” These increases will be guaranteed every year, unlike the present formula that only allowed an increase in 7 out of the last 10 years.

Social Security was established in 1935 and it was meant to be a safety net in retirement.  But, many older Americans are foregoing retirement in order to maintain 21st Century lifestyles.

“To address the shortfall,” says Weber, “we’ve included in our proposal an Early Retirement Account as a way for those paying into Social Security to have some control of how their money is invested.  It’s similar to an IRA or a 401(k) plan,” he says.

The AMAC chief adds that,” the ERA is a voluntary payroll deduction plan. Under our proposal, the basic benefits of Social Security would remain, with the ERA funds giving worker additional money at retirement. Presently 50 million workers have no pension or 401K plan.

And, in order to ensure that the funds in the Early Retirement Account will not be lost through investments with extreme risk, half of the moneys in the ERA accounts would have to be invested in guaranteed interest products such as government bonds or annuity contracts.  The worker would be free to put the balance in any other investments that meets certain suitability standards.”

Weber points out that workers opting for the supplemental ERA would earn a substantial amount of extra income when they retire, in addition to their regular earned Social Security benefits.  “For example a 25-year-old who contributes only $15 a week to an ERA is projected to have $165,407 in additional money by retirement.  Increase the amount to $45 a week and the windfall would be $352,389 upon retirement.”

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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Don Cole
4 years ago

It’s one thing to talk about a 2 or 3 percent increase in payment but the rules should be changed that the increase is above whatever the increase in medicare payments are set at. It is not an increase if it is taken away by medicare payments. If you are living on SS you can’t keep up with inflation if you don’t get an increase to the COLA level.

Scottar
4 years ago

I don’t understand why they don’t do away with the income cap and do means testing until SS is made solvent. Of course SS needs a lot of vetting to knock of the freeloaders. And there is some kind of rebate going to green card workers from SS deductions, criminal! Of course the moneys should not be going into the general fund.

Ronnie
4 years ago

JFK and Sergeant Shriver were the first to misuse SS funds, they started the Peace Corps with SS funds. Funny how the Dems always tell the
voters the Republicans want to take your SS away, but they have done all the damage to the entire program through the years. Unfortunately the
voting public is not well enough informed to see through their BS statements.

kim manke
4 years ago

maybe all of the people should not pay any taxes for to years. and go back paying taxes once a year. again. let the rich pay their income into s.s. like everybody else, .had to. the government. should into how Canada s.s. is growing. they might learn how to treat people right.

Kim
4 years ago

What’s to prevent the retiree’s shortfall from AMAC’s Social Security Guarantee if inflation exceeds the COLA guidelines? Too much manipulating of the numbers.
I could get tomatoed for this, but I think raising the retirement age is one of a few sane approaches. Also phasing in a higher income limit (than the proposed 2018 figure) that is subject to SS taxes should be considered. I hate the idea of taxing ANY Social Security income! That is double taxation!
As several comments here have noted, it seems that any increase in SS income is negated by the increases in Medicare and the rising cost of goods outside of core inflation. Because I enjoy working, retirement is on the very distant horizon; the longer it is delayed, the bigger the check from SS, IF I live that long.
Encouraging our children to save in a serious way for their future retirement is advice I wish I had heeded.

Here’s a thought, just for fun. Brace yourselves; it’s a government program:
For someone who is financially comfortable in retirement, why not allow the Social Security Administration to distribute half the monthly untaxable SS income to the retiree’s choice of individual (a private citizen of any age)? The other half goes back into a SS lockbox, and the donor gets nothing except the satisfaction that he or she was able to help a college-bound niece, or a neighbor’s deserving son, or a veteran who needs a bit of help. The donor renews the paperwork on an annual basis, so that other recipients (or the same one) can benefit in the coming years. This plan would not be affected by existing gift laws already on the books. It’s one way to help someone financially, without taxing the donation, while relieving some of the pressure on Social Security to print those checks every month.

PaulE
4 years ago
Reply to  Kim

So your suggestion in the second paragraph is kind of a hybrid charitable donation and voluntary surrender of benefits plan. The first part has some merit, as it would allow supplimental giving without violating the current annual caps. Not a bad idea.

I get why you suggest the second part of your idea, as it is a stealth approach to propping up the SS program by getting some people to forego 50 percent of their expected benefit. The only problem I see with that approach is what does the individual signing for this this get? I mean I see what the government gets. They get to retain more money and extend the expected life of SS a few more years. However, aside from satisfaction of helping to prop up a government program running out of resources, how would you incentize enough people to make a dent in the SS shortfall? Can you elaborate more on this?

Kim
4 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Hi PaulE–
There are two assumptions here. One is that the donor is comfortable financially and doesn’t “need” the payment, and the other is that the donor accepts the fact that the cost of someone getting a freebie for a year is letting Social Security keep the other half of the monthly payment. And it doesn’t have to be limited to half; if she’s feeling especially generous, she can let SS keep the whole payment. No quid pro quo. Surely, there must be some people who are doing this already.
If the idea ever saw the light of day in the Hollywood hills, imagine the pressure at the next champagne social for others to do the same. I’d be happy to see it spread like the flu. There could be a national campaign–PSA’s and billboards and colorful little reminders sent with the annual SS statements… Okay, skip the billboards. But you get the idea. When a thought materializes, and becomes part of our daily parlance, it loses the feeling of foreignness. It’s accepted. After a time, it becomes the norm. It’s like microinvesting, without the goats or sewing machines we’ve seen in villages overseas, but instead with the thousand or so monthly dollars going to help finance someone’s college education or a nephew’s new car repair shop or your daughter’s budding greenhouse business. It’ll help “lubricate the economy”.
This idea could be presented at annual board meetings, community charity drives, in company or church newsletters, or on senior center bulletin boards. This is meant to be entirely philanthropic. It it prolongs the life of Social Security even for a short while, then it’s been a good day. I wouldn’t expect a huge outpouring of support for the plan from the start, but it could catch on. As the economy improves because of President Trump’s influence, perhaps this is one way to give thanks.
And thank you, PaulE, for giving it consideration. Any scheme that ends up with a win-win result, however humble, is worth thinking about. It is one more way to demonstrate gratitude for the abundance available to us as American citizens.

H.G.HUDAK
4 years ago

Want to make Social Security sustainable? Have Congress redeem the “IOU’s” that it placed in the fund, and return it to a funded liability instead of the current unfunded liability status that it is in. Social Security was just fine until Nixon, Reagan and O’Neal started fiddling with the funds.

Gregory Regulbuto
4 years ago

Glad to have the increase but why are we paying taxes on our social security. We already paid taxes on this money when it was taken out of our pay checks. When it comes to our Representatives and Senators, I have one question. How much can a pig eat ?

Marj
4 years ago

I need/want a COLA increase. As a Widow It’s a challenge to keep up with the cost of living and medicine increases. BUT, Don’t give it and then in the same breath increase my Medicare cost and zero out my increase!!!

MR. A. B. JAMES
4 years ago

transfer all federal govt. pensions to social security! this would solve the ss problem immediately.

Lee McQuillen
4 years ago

If the government would pay back what they “borrowed” SS would be in much better shape. But, not gonna happen! Supposedly it was a “trust fund” but sure wasn’t treated that way. Disgusting!!!

Mary South
4 years ago

The Social Security recipients WILL NOT receive an increase in their checks!!! All of that 2% increase will be going to the insurance companies just at the .03% did last year. All the politicians think they are doing the Senior citizens a favor by allowing increases in checks, however it DOES NOT REACH the recipients as SS allows the Medicare insurers to increase their fees to the amount of the increase!! I for one think this is atrocious to grant the insurers each year an increase in their premiums but the recipient has no more money to pay for doctors, medical procedures, or prescriptions. The insurers get the increase that is allowed while also increasing the amounts one has to pay out of pocket for both medical care and medicine! So don’t tout this as a benefit for the SS recipient as we get nothing but more and more opportunities to pay more out of pocket for medical care and medicine!

Janet wlson
4 years ago

Get social security out of the general fund. Quit giving it to illegals! If you have a baby in this country and are an illegal, take the baby back home. Yes, the baby has duel citizenship, but not residency for it or parents. Until the baby grows up, can it live in the US!

Frank
4 years ago

This raise is a joke and we will not see a penny of it as it will be absorbed by an increase in the Medicare B deduction.

Bill
4 years ago

Social Security is not a welfare program. All participants should be paid according to what they paid into the system, not according to their current income. That’s how the program was started, but now the government wants to change the rules. It may not be fair, but that’s our government.

Peder kringstad
4 years ago

Previous post by me I notice an error, I did not put the Obama name in my post , I was just saying President did not catch the automatic change.

Peder kringstad
4 years ago

Can’t wait to hear the weak excuses on why Congress, President Obama & the SSI are not working for the Senior Citizens of the United States of America. They are paid by them, I guess they know they they can get away with taking/stealing their money. After all $800 000 million was given to BIg Business from Medcare this year. Were was Muller. Oh yeah they say we received a o.o3 % Cola increase last year, I never received any extra money in my ssi check, again we it was taken/stolen by Medicare. I voted for the present President an am disappointed with how he has ignored the Senior Citizens.

Chuck
4 years ago

President Trump was just inaugurated in January of this year – 10 months ago. The way he is being treated, it is a miracle that anything has gotten done, and especially holding Senior hands. I am grateful for the pathetic .02 increase as better than nothing. Unfortunately only inflation will gain an increase for SS, and always a year behind whatever inflation there is, so we will remain in the hole. Those without good pensions or big IRAs will always feel the pressure.

KLMJSM22
4 years ago

Increases in SS benefits are usually offset by increases in Medicare premiums and deductibles.

Mary South
4 years ago
Reply to  KLMJSM22

Very, very true which is a rip off of the system and the SS recipient!

Gloria P. Sterling
4 years ago

Why couldn’t my comment be posted?

Very Annoyed
4 years ago

To all who use the comment section. When I contacted AMAC about not being able to open the Web page I was told that their website has been under a Denial of Service attack on a constant basis, especially on Saturday when they send out their Newsletter.
Somehow bad people are able to send hundreds of thousands of emails per minute to the AMAC site causing the server to malfunction. AMAC had to contract a specialty company that responds whenever there is such an attack. I was told that whoever was behind the attack had to be spending tens of thousands of dollars to take down their site. (George Soros?)

Chuck
4 years ago
Reply to  Very Annoyed

Welcome to socialism in America. Taking from some and giving to others never works out fair or morally correct. As Fredric Bastiat said in The Law in 1848 (same year Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto–Manna feasto?) describing it as legalized plunder. “In the end everyone is plundering everyone.” We have allowed the Fedgov, by our acquiescence, to expand SS into medicare, disability, survivor, Medicaid, and other benefits. And now we join the clamor of groups like AARP demanding that socialism be more fair to more of us.
I told AARP many years ago to stop sending me their promotions until they quit their socialism philosophy. I joined AMAC a year ago understanding it stood for American Free Enterprise and the US Constitution. The AMAC post here and its “repeal and REPLACE” stand on obummercare make it very hard to renew.

PaulE
4 years ago
Reply to  Chuck

AARP and AMAC, different shades of gray rather than the expected black and white.

PaulE
4 years ago
Reply to  Very Annoyed

Time for AMAC to increase its investment in IT resources, both personnel and LOTS of security software and hardware. Sounds like AMAC needs to develop a means to back trace the source of these attacks, so they can better identify where they are coming from and who is behind them.

IT VICTIM
4 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

NOT AS EASY AS IT SEEMS TO TRACK DOWN WHEN YOU ARE BEING SUBJECTED TO A DOS ATTACK. MY COMPANY SPENT THOUSANDS AND COULD NOT FIND THE CULPRIT. WENT TO THE FBI AND WAS TOLD THEIR PRIORITIES ARE; MILITARY SYSTEMS, GOV. SYSTEMS, UTILITIES, BANKS, FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES ETC. SMALLER COMPANIES ARE OUT OF LUCK.

PaulE
4 years ago
Reply to  IT VICTIM

Didn’t mean to imply that it would be easy, cheap or something most small businesses could ever afford to do on their own. My comments were strictly aimed at the AMAC situation Very Annoyed described. AMAC should have more than enough financial resources to be able afford what is required to protect against these DoS type attacks. They likely have a single location server farm with a handful of deducated Internet access points to the outside world that would need securing and monitoring. Doubt they have anything really complex. If they even have a remote disaster recovery site, it would also be limited in scale and access. Having worked in the IT industry for decades and several years in the software security field for enterprise scale architectures (think solutions for national or global companies and all their locations), the kind of personnel, hardware and software to both defend against such attacks, as well as trace back the location from which the attack is eminating is expensive. Simply the nature of the beast as the hackers are constantly upping their game to try and get around new measures the industry is coming up with. Which is why only the Fortune 2000 companies can afford to have their entire computer infrastructure protected. Even a relatively small scale, single location server farm setup, with one or two dedicated personnel to step in, when the software indicates a breach is being attempted, would cost a company at least mid to high six figures.

Yeah, I hear you about the response you got from the FBI. In all honesty, they are tasked with addressing threats to the priorities they told you. Things that have the potential to impact the security and stability of the nation. They simply don’t have the bandwidth to address every attack being launched daily against small businesses and individual users. They do amazing work given the limited resources Congress deems to give them. There are automated attacks happening every day, so you can image what kind of manpower and system resources the FBI would need, if they tried to track everything for everyone. It was hard enough trying convince large companies with deep pockets to spend what was needed to secure their businesses adequately before I retired. Not their highest priority for most C level execs. Getting our federal government to spend taxpayer money both wisely and efficiently is exponentially harder.

Best you can do to protect your small business is have someone install a multi-layer firewall to shield your servers, encrypt all you data lines going into and out of your routers to the outside world, disable or encrypt any wi-fi you have running into you business, keep you anti-virus and anti-malware software current on all servers, laptops, PC’S and any other trusted devices you allow access to your network, and change the settings of all your Web browsers from default, which is essentially wide open, to mid to high level security levels. Essentially you have to view every computer access point into your business as a potential hole a hacker can exploit on some level. So you have to try and eliminate or minimize those holes, so there is less opportunities for them to try and exploit.

Hope this helps.

Chuck
4 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Thank you – very informative!!

Ed J
4 years ago

I wish everyone would stop calling these increases a COLA. They are not an actual cost of living, and it is far from an ‘allowance’. Increases are based on the annual ‘consumer price index’ (CPI) which is a fancy invention of Congress to keep from paying an actual cost of living. CPI factors vary by year to create the minimum pay increase possible. Many years it does not consider the increased cost to buy food or energy, but it does include food and energy if their prices go down during the year. That is what the Obama administration did, and he gave no ‘COLA’ increase for 3 of his 8 years in office. These 3 ‘no COLA’ years were the first time since SSA began in 1935 (except for the WWII years 1942-1945) that no proposed increase was given. Obama also used the CPI in the 5 years he did ‘give’ an increase to minimize that increase.

CPI was invented during the Clinton administration and has been used by every administration since then. But don’t think the democrats are in this alone, many republicans (RINOs) go along with the democrats. That is how this crazy stuff gets passed in a GOP lead Congress or with a GOP POTUS. The Bush-43 administration used CPI to calculate so called COLA increases in each of his 8 years in office. Yes, he managed to give COLA increases despite going to war and increases in the Defense Budget. Obama cut defense spending and minimized or did not propose a COLA at all. The Democrat Party is not our friends, and their allies the RINOs are worse.

The other major cost increase to SS recipients happened during the Clinton administration when he proposed to tax up to 85% of your SS ‘benefit’ by the IRS. Clinton ignored the fact that taxes were already paid on this SS money back when it was earned. Now Clinton and the democrats managed to ‘double tax’ this so called ‘benefit’.

Finally, let’s stop calling social security, military and civilian retirement, and VA disability compensation ‘entitlement programs’. These are EARNED BENEFITS that people worked and fought for throughout their careers at a younger age. SS is a paid into system, not a gift from the government. You worked and paid FICA taxes for 30, 40, or 50 years. Your employer (if you were not self employed) also paid into your social security. This is your money, not the Congress’s and not the government’s.

The word entitlement is used by the politicians to make you think they personally give it to you as a ‘gift’ and you had nothing to do with earning it. The same goes for government and military retirements and VA compensation. You agreed to stay in the Armed Forces for 20+ years, or work for the government for 20+ years and in return you earned a retirement pension. For those who collect a VA disability compensation, they paid for that in blood while serving in the Armed Forces.

Cathy Hoover
4 years ago

My daughter has a female friend who gets a SS check every month for “depression and anxiety”. She is about 42 or 43 and a moocher on society. We all go through times of anxiety. To hear her talk she is the only one. She is constantly urging my daughter (35) to apply to get SS for her ADHD and bipolar so she wouldn’t have to work. My daughter tells her that she likes to work and no thanks. This is an abuse to the system. This needs to stop. She can get a job and not SS money. Of course she would have to get out of the bed to so that. Her husband has a good job and owns their home so isn’t like they are homeless. Also, when I got my Medicare card last month the instructions were in about 17 languages. Why is that? Why do people who only speak Farsi and Mongolian Chinese get Medicare cards? THAT is one of the main problems with the system. Also, take all the Congress pension money and put it into SS and make them draw SS.

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