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Cartwright Statement on Increase in Social Security Benefits

Oct 12, 2018
Press Release
Cost-of-living increased by 2.8 percent for recipients

WASHINGTON, DC--Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-17) released the following statement regarding the announcement of a 2.8 percent increase in the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security recipients:

“Social Security has been our nation’s most effective anti-poverty program for senior citizens and Americans with disabilities.

“The Social Security COLA increase of 2.8 percent is welcome news to seniors who have seen their living and out-of-pocket medical expenses rise. But we need Social Security benefits to keep up with all the rising costs that hit seniors hard – in housing, specialty medical treatment and hospital services, and prescription medicines.

“Currently, the annual adjustment is tied to the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W) for the purposes of calculating inflation. However, the CPI-W is based on a basket of goods that does not adequately track the purchases of seniors.  As a result, to ensure that benefits better reflect cost increases facing seniors, future COLAs should be based on the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). Making this change to Social Security is expected to result in higher COLAs, ensuring that seniors can better keep up with the rising costs of their essential items.

“The current broad-stroke approach does not accurately reflect the needs and buying trends of senior citizens. I support adjusting the way Social Security COLAs are figured to better reflect rising prices in the areas of need and expense for seniors, which are different than those faced by younger Americans. And this is why I’m cosponsor of the Strengthening Social Security Act of 2018.”

The Strengthening Social Security Act of 2018 would change the Social Security COLA calculation to the CIP-E method. Details on the Act can be found here.