Congressman Crowley Applauds Social Security COLA Increase for Seniors

Nov 1, 2013 Issues: Seniors

(Queens, N.Y.)  – Today, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, applauded the announcement of the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2014. Next year, monthly benefits for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income recipients will increase by 1.5 percent, which on average equals an additional $18 a month.

“This COLA increase is great news for seniors,” said Rep. Crowley. “For so many seniors in my district and nationwide, these benefits are a lifeline that they rely on. This increase will bring some much-needed relief and help seniors meet the rising costs of everyday expenses, like rent, food, and gas.”

Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, Social Security was created at a time when the American economy had crumbled and was struggling to recover. Pensions were almost non-existent, and a majority of seniors were unable to support themselves after retirement. Today, more than 50 million Americans, including 3.2 million in New York, rely on Social Security’s guaranteed benefits for retirement security or to make ends meet, put food on the table and stay in their homes.

Since 1975, Social Security benefits have been automatically adjusted each year to maintain purchasing power, keeping millions of seniors from falling into poverty as they age. Social Security beneficiaries will begin to see next year’s increased payments on January 1, 2014.

Additionally, it was announced that Medicare Part B standard premiums will remain level for 2014, at $104.90. Because these premiums are deducted automatically from Social Security benefit checks, the COLA increase combined with the stable premiums means seniors will get to pocket even more of their hard-earned benefits.

“I am so pleased the benefits of the Affordable Care Act are kicking in and helping to strengthen Medicare by lowering the costs for the overall program,” continued Crowley. “As a result, Medicare premiums will be kept low, allowing seniors to access continuously improving care and enjoy greater financial stability.”

The Affordable Care Act made significant improvements to the Medicare program. While seniors on Medicare do not have to do anything differently to continue their coverage, they will continue to benefit from a healthier program with greater benefits.

In addition to extending the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by nearly a decade, the law also provides free Medicare coverage of key preventive services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, and new savings on prescription drugs. In New York, nearly 1.5 million seniors benefitted from a free preventive service last year. Additionally, so far in 2013, over 210,000 seniors have saved an average of $927 each on prescription drugs.

 

Congressman Crowley is the eight-term representative from the 14th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He is a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee and serves as Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives.