The Social Security Administration introduced previous week that its once-a-year price tag-of-residing adjustment for 2021 will be 1.3 p.c in 2021, an raise of about $20 a thirty day period for the average recipient.
That did not make Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who also serves as chairman of the Place of work of Senior Expert services, really happy. In fact, it made him “furious.”
“It is outrageous and inconceivable that in this financial unexpected emergency our seniors are acquiring these types of a paltry enhance,” explained Vicari. “It is totally unacceptable and an insult to just about every senior citizen who depends on Social Safety.”
Social Safety is an significant concern for Ocean County freeholders due to the fact the county is house to far more than 173,000 senior citizens, quite a few of whom rely entirely on every month Social Safety checks, which common a very little much more than $1,400.
Vicari said the COLA increase does not arrive near to matching growing costs.
“In the earlier handful of months by yourself,” he explained, “we have noticed Jersey Central Electric power and Gentle raise their charges by virtually $10 a thirty day period. That was adopted by toll raises on the Yard State Parkway and a 10-cent for each gallon hike in the fuel tax. How considerably extra will our seniors be pressured to endure?
“Both food items and essential domestic goods like paper towels have increased by additional than 1.3 per cent in the earlier calendar year. In no way does this expense-of-residing increase just take into account the ongoing effects of COVID-19.”
Vicari immediately shot off letters to U.S. Senators Corey Booker and Robert Menendez, as well as the county’s delegations in the Household of Associates, demanding added funding for Social Safety. He also planned to publish the White House.
“On behalf of the virtually 200,000 more mature older people that get in touch with Ocean County house, I ask that you do every thing in your electricity to offer more funding for Social Stability. Funding that must be handed together to our most vulnerable senior citizens,” he stated in his letter.
Just two days later on, he received a reaction from Rep. Christopher H. Smith, a Republican who signifies a lot of northern Ocean County, including Jackson, Lakewood and Manchester.
Smith educated Vicari he would promptly handle the concern by introducing legislation that would require the SSA to figure out the annual COLA on the cost of merchandise that seniors acquire.
“My monthly bill will alter the method so that it presents proper weight to the sorts of charges which recipients of Social Safety and Supplemental Safety Income seniors endure – particularly and including mounting clinical and pharmaceutical costs,” wrote Smith. “My laws will also offer an fast 2-yr unexpected emergency 3 % COLA in the course of the nationwide COVID-19 emergency.
“The additional medical charges and other expenditures connected with the pandemic and financial shutdown has (sic) put an great burden on our seniors that just are not able to be overlooked.”
Interestingly, AARP didn’t immediately elevate the identical fears Vicari and Smith did.
According to AARP, Social Safety COLAs have averaged a 1.65 p.c improve on a yearly basis the earlier decade, with no maximize at all to benefits in 2016. The boost for 2020 was 1.6 percent. Due to the fact Congress initiated automated COLA payments in 1975, there have been three decades in which positive aspects did not maximize at all – 2010, 2011 and 2016. The single largest maximize was in 1981, when it was 14.3 per cent, consultant of how COLA will increase relate to the governing administration-declared charge of inflation.
“Today’s announcement of a 1.3 COLA enhance – though modest – is needed to support Social Protection beneficiaries and their families check out to keep up with soaring costs,” reported AARP Chief Govt Officer Jo Ann Jenkins on hearing of the SSA choice. “The assured rewards supplied by Social Security and the COLA improve are a lot more important than ever as thousands and thousands of Us residents keep on to experience the 1-two punch of the coronavirus’s overall health and financial consequences. In point, thanks to a short while ago enacted improvements supported by AARP to lower the Medicare high quality for up coming yr, more seniors will at least see a small month to month COLA.” —R.M.