October 18, 2016

After New Social Security Cost-of-Living Announcement, Sen. Warren and Rep. Duckworth Urge Congress to Pass the SAVE Benefits Act to Provide Emergency Payments to Seniors, Veterans, and Other Americans

Despite rising core expenses, seniors, veterans, and Americans with disabilities to receive only 0.3 percent COLA increase in 2017 after facing a zero COLA in 2016

Washington, DC - Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Tammy Duckworth today renewed their call for Congress to pass the Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act, which would boost Social Security and other critical benefits for seniors, veterans, and Americans with disabilities. This follows today's announcement by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be 0.3 percent for 2017, after a zero COLA in 2016. Warren sponsors the legislation along with 22 Democrats in the Senate and Duckworth sponsors it along with 58 Democrats in the House.

"For many seniors and other Americans struggling to make ends meet on tight budgets with rising expenses, today's COLA announcement offers little relief," said Senator Warren. "There is still time to help make up for the fact that there was no cost-of-living adjustment in 2016. Congress should pass the SAVE Benefits Act when we are back in session in November to give a much-needed boost to millions of Americans who have earned it."

"After receiving no cost-of-living adjustment last year, this year's miniscule COLA is yet another disappointment for the millions of seniors, Veterans and those living with disabilities who rely on Social Security to pay their bills. I hope this inadequate COLA convinces my colleagues on both sides of the aisle that Congress must fix this flawed formula and act to provide emergency relief to struggling Americans. They can start by joining me and Senator Warren to pass our fully-paid-for SAVE Benefits Act to give Social Security beneficiaries the meaningful raise they deserve before this Congress adjourns," said Rep. Duckworth.

The SAVE Benefits Act would give about 70 million seniors, veterans, Americans with disabilities, and others an emergency payment equal to 3.9 percent of the average annual Social Security benefit, about $581 - the same percentage raise that top CEOs received last year.

A $581 increase could cover almost three months of groceries for seniors or a year's worth of out-of-pocket costs on critical prescription drugs for the average Medicare beneficiary. The bill would lift more than 1 million Americans out of poverty. The cost of this emergency payment would be covered by closing a tax loophole allowing corporations to write off executive bonuses as a business expense for "performance pay." The substantial additional revenue saved by closing the CEO compensation loophole would be used to bolster and extend the life of the Social Security and Disability trust funds.