Two congressional Democrats believe the Social Security Administration’s 1.3% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is not enough.
Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and John Larson (D-CT) are working on a bill to raise the Social Security COLA adjustment to a 3% emergency increase next year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors are facing additional financial burdens in order to stay safe,” DeFazio said in a statement. “This absolutely anemic COLA won’t even come close to helping them afford even their everyday expenses, let alone those exacerbated by COVID-19.”
The bill, called the Emergency Social Security COLA for 2021 Act, is scheduled to be introduced Friday. The coronavirus pandemic has been harder on senior citizens than any other age bracket. The coronavirus has had a devastating impact on nursing homes due to how easily the virus is passed. In New York alone, between 6,000 and 12,000 seniors died this spring due to the virus.
For seniors who are active, working full time, and living alone, the virus has sent them into isolation and missing an active lifestyle and social events that kept their bodies and minds stimulated. The pandemic has also hurt their wallets.
Up to 25% of the U.S. workforce are seniors and of the millions currently out of work, many are 55 or older. Those seniors may not be able to get their jobs back when the pandemic ends and employers resume hiring—and look for younger, inexpensive talent. All of these factors are putting an additional strain on the pockets and lives of seniors.
“It’s time for the Republicans to join Democrats and strengthen America’s number [one] economic security program, instead of trying to defund it by eliminating its funding source as President Trump has pledged he will do. I have introduced legislation to stop the President’s plan and to protect Social Security,” Larson said in a statement.
The Social Security Administration announced Wednesday that the COLA for 2021 will be just 1.3%, the second-lowest adjustment in the program’s history. The lowest increase was 0.3% in 2017. Three times—2010, 2011, and 2016—the COLA was zero.