Scott Statement on Social Security COLA for 2017

October 20, 2016
Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – On October 18, 2016, the Social Security Administration announced that Social Security beneficiaries would only receive a 0.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2017. Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), a member of the House Democratic Caucus’ Seniors Task Force, issued the following statement on the Social Security Administration’s announcement of the 2017 COLA:

“This week’s announcement by the Social Security Administration of a paltry 0.3 percent COLA for our seniors confirms yet again that Congress must act to reform the COLA formula so that future COLAs better account for price increases in consumer goods more utilized by our seniors.

“That is why I have long supported legislation, such as the Social Security 2100 Act, that would require the Social Security Administration to use the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly or CPI-E when calculating the annual COLA rather than the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers or CPI-W.  The CPI-E formula better accounts for seniors’ spending patterns in the economy, which differs considerably from the general population. Research shows that seniors tend to spend significantly higher portion of their income on health care, which is growing at a much faster rate than other spending categories. The CPI-E formula would better weigh these cost increases.

“For over 80 years, Social Security has been giving seniors and their families peace of mind and economic stability. I am committed to expanding and enhancing Social Security benefits, while also extending the solvency of the Social Security trust fund by reforming how Social Security taxes are paid. In 2017, Social Security taxes will only apply to an individual’s first $127,200 and any additional wages above that threshold are not subject to Social Security taxes. If we eliminate the wage threshold altogether or gradually phase it out, we can both increase benefits and extend Social Security’s solvency.

“I hope more of my colleagues in Congress will join me and others to work to improve and enhance Social Security rather than continue to focus on efforts that would cut benefits and increase the retirement age. Addressing this issue must be a top priority when Congress returns in November.”

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