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Decreasing Social Security Benefits for Most Seniors in 2013

Author: The Senior Citizens League

Published: 2011-02-24

Synopsis and Key Points:

Majority of seniors will see drops in their Social Security benefits after Medicare premiums are deducted according to The Senior Citizens League.

Main Digest

Analysis: Most Seniors Will See Decreasing Social Security Benefits Through 2013 - Forecasted Low COLAs Would Not Offset Rising Expenses for Vast Majority of Seniors.

The U.S. Government recently announced that cost of living adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security benefits will likely remain at historically low levels through 2013. This means the majority of seniors will see sustained drops in their Social Security benefits (after Medicare premiums are deducted), according to an analysis by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), one of the nation's largest nonpartisan senior citizens advocacy groups.

The Congressional Budget Office predicted a 1.1 percent COLA in 2012 and a 1.2 percent COLA in 2013. These would be the two lowest COLAs paid in years where there was a COLA, and would follow on the heels of two consecutive years with no COLA at all. At the same time, government projections show that most Medicare premiums will likely continue to increase.

This will further erode the benefits of most seniors. A recent TSCL survey found that nearly half of senior citizens are receiving lower Social Security checks in 2011 after Medicare premiums are deducted; of these, one in four are receiving at least $50 less per month, and one in nine are receiving at least $100 less per month. The new forecasts suggest that next year seniors should again expect to see their benefit drop by a similar, if not even larger, amount.

"Cost of living adjustments need to keep pace with rising expenses, including increases in Medicare premiums," said Larry Hyland, chairman of The Senior Citizens League. "If they don't, millions of seniors who are already stretched thin will have to find more ways to tighten their belts. We may also see many more seniors falling below the poverty line."

Almost 70 percent of beneficiaries depend on Social Security for 50 percent or more of their income. Social Security is the sole source of income for 15 percent of beneficiaries.

TSCL supports emergency COLA legislation and opposes any deficit reduction proposals that would cut the COLA.

With 1.2 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of The Retired Enlisted Association. Visit for more information.

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