For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Pamela Causey, 202-216-8378, 202-236-2123
Walter Gottlieb, 202-276-9089

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

2021 Social Security COLA Inadequate For COVID-Ravaged Seniors

WASHINGTON - “Next year, seniors will receive a meager 1.3% Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), the lowest since 2017.  The timing could not be worse.  The COVID pandemic has devastated many older Americans both physically and financially.  Seniors living on fixed incomes need a lifeboat; this COLA increase is more like an underinflated inner tube.

The average Social Security beneficiary will see a paltry $20 month more in benefits in 2021.  This COLA is barely enough for one prescription co-pay or half a bag of groceries.  Worse yet, seniors could lose almost half of their COLA increase to a rise in the Medicare Part B premium for 2021, the exact amount of which has not yet been announced.  

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The current COLA formula – the CPI-W – is woefully inadequate for calculating the true impact of inflation on seniors’ pocketbooks. It especially under-represents the rising costs that retirees pay for expenses like health care, prescription drugs, food, and housing. We support the adoption of the CPI-E (Consumer Price Index for the Elderly), which properly weights the goods and services that seniors spend their money on. 

The next Congress must adopt the CPI-E, which is part of Rep. John Larson’s Social Security 2100 Act – a landmark piece of legislation to boost benefits endorsed by the National Committee.  We also strongly support Rep. Peter DeFazio’s bill to provide an emergency 3% Social Security COLA for 2021, due to the extraordinary challenges seniors face during the COVID pandemic.  The CPI-E is part of Joe Biden’s plan for older Americans, one of the many reasons that the National Committee has endorsed him for president.” – Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

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National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization acts in the interests of its membership through advocacy, education, services, grassroots efforts and the leadership of the Board of Directors and professional staff.  The work of the National Committee is directed toward developing better-informed citizens and voters.

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