National Council on Aging Tells Congress to Protect
Social Security, Medicare
Congress fails to increase the debt limit key payments to seniors may
not be made
14, 2013 The National Council on Aging (NCOA) joined the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) in
strongly urging Congress to end the government shutdown and extend the
debt limit to December 2014, without putting at risk the Social
Security, Medicare, and other benefits that millions of older Americans
need to "stay healthy, independent, and secure."
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, there are two
key upcoming dates on which Medicare and Social Security payments need
to be made:
About $12 billion in Social Security benefit payments;
About $67 billion in Social Security benefit payments; payments to
Medicare Part D (prescription drug) and Part C Medicare Advantage plans
(about 25% of beneficiaries are enrolled in these plans); benefit
payments for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients (including
about 2 million low-income seniors), civil service and military
retirees, and veterans; and pay for active-duty members of the military.
Congress fails to increase the debt limit, these payments likely will
not be made, causing significant financial hardship for millions of
older Americans, particularly those in greatest need.
Almost half (46%) of unmarried seniors rely on their Social Security
checks for 90% or more of their income. SSI recipients generally have
annual incomes below $8,760.
Recent analysis also found that older adults retirement account
balances could fall by more than 20% if the debt ceiling is not raised.
(Retirement Savings Will Suffer if Congress Does Not End the Budget
and Debt Ceiling Stalemate, American Society of Pension
Professionals & Actuaries, October 2013).
Failure to increase the debt ceiling would be the height of
irresponsibility. It is shocking that some members of Congress are
willing to risk economic catastrophe for families and the nation in
order to push their extreme political agenda.
As the government shutdown drags on, among the most
notable disruptions for older adults are deficient resources for
critical, life-preserving programs, including home-delivered and
congregate meals, in-home support services, long-term care ombudsman,
and elder abuse prevention programs, as well as energy assistance, flu
and other disease monitoring, state and federal nursing home surveyors
and oversight, food safety inspections, and much more.
price for Congress to do its job and end the government shutdown should
not be locking in harmful sequester cuts and denying access to basic
health insurance to Americans who are uninsured. Now it also appears
that cutting Medicare and Social Security, and shifting more costs onto
seniors, will be the ransom demanded for avoiding financial meltdown.
Responsible legislators must reject these threats to older Americans and
reopen the government and raise the debt limit immediately.
The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit
service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC.
NCOAs mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults,
especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged. NCOA is a
national voice for older Americans and the community organizations that
serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and
government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all
older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the
country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health,
live independently, and remain active in their communities. www.ncoa.org |www.facebook.com/NCOAging
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