AARP Eye Center
By Tim Morrissey, Public News Service (WI)
MADISON, Wis. – Every year Social Security recipients have their monthly benefit amount adjusted based on the cost of living. For the past several years, recipients have seen a slight increase in their check, but this year there will be no cost of living adjustment.
In addition, about one-third of Medicare beneficiaries will face another hit because of increased premiums, according to Lisa Lamkins of AARP Wisconsin.
"They won't see an increase in their Social Security benefit, which is always a challenge," she says. "We also want to alert people that everyone will see a big jump in their deductible, from $147 this year to $223 in 2016."
According to AARP, these changes will affect more than 16 million Americans, who will see their Medicare Part B deductible go up. Social Security officials say the reason there will be no cost of living increase is because of unusually low energy prices.
Regardless of the rationale, Lamkins says the lack of a cost of living adjustment will be difficult for recipients to deal with. She says federal elected officials need to do something to help soften the blow to America's senior citizens.
"It's very important that Congress comes up with a plan to mitigate the impact of these sharp premium and deductible increases," she says.
Lamkins adds that AARP is opposed to an idea being discussed in Washington called the Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI), which she says would have a negative impact on Social Security recipients. She adds that if Chained CPI were in effect, it would've been causing "even bigger problems."
"It further under-reports inflation, and ultimately erodes the standard of living for Social Security beneficiaries," she says. "They end up with an estimated cut worth $127 billion dollars in benefits."
Lamkins says AARP will continue to fight against all proposals to adopt Chained CPI.