The November 3 deadline for raising the federal debt limit is fast approaching, bringing with it the risk of a U.S. credit default if Congress fails to act. Democrats in Congress have drawn an early line in the sand, saying they will reject any effort by Republicans to cut earned Social Security and Medicare benefits as part of this fall's budget talks, according to Politico and a source familiar with the discussions. This means that Republican leaders in the U.S. House will likely have to rely on Democratic votes to increase the debt limit without any policy concessions.
09/04/2015 - Happy Labor Day to all Alliance members! The Social Security Administration's (SSA’s) new Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) issue paper and state fact sheets show how this vital safety net is protecting workers and their families in every community across America.
Released to coincide with Labor Day, the documents focus attention on disability protections that workers earn through payroll taxes. The average person receiving SSDI payments today paid into the system for 22 years before becoming disabled.
While still talking about the need to “save” Social Security by cutting benefits to retirees, this cycle’s crop of GOP Presidential candidates have been silent on whether they’d support a plan to privatize Social Security. In 2005, Democrats defeated a proposal by President Bush to allow individuals to invest in private accounts in lieu of Social Security – an idea which would have exposed decades of earned benefits to the volatility of the stock market while depleting the trust fund at a faster rate.
08/14/2015 - Members of the Alliance are hosting more than 40 events today, August 14th, to celebrate and educate the public about the importance of protecting and expanding Social Security on its 80th birthday.
Together with Medicare’s 50th birthday events held in July, as well as Social Security anniversary celebrations held recently or on the horizon, the Alliance is holding more than 150 events in July and August to mark the two anniversaries. The Alliance is working with Social Security Works, a partner organization, to release new reports showing how important Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are to seniors in all 50 states: http://www.socialsecurityworks.org/resources/state-reports
07/31/2015 - Retirees and allies around the country participated in more than 100 Medicare events celebrating 50 years of guaranteed health coverage for seniors this week. In Washington, DC, the Alliance for Retired Americans participated in a celebratory press conference with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Reps. Doris Matsui (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Xavier Becerra (CA), and Joe Crowley (NY) to honor the program’s accomplishments and reiterate support for preserving it for the future. Alliance executive director Richard Fiesta and Alliance member Susan Thomas of Maryland spoke at the event. You can watch the video on YouTube. Minutes later, U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) led a Senate celebration.
07/27/2015 - On July 30 – the 50th anniversary of Medicare – APWU members will join with others across the country to celebrate the program that has helped more than 53 million seniors and disabled Americans obtain healthcare. To find an event in your area, visit www.medicare50th.org/#!/events or www.medicareturns50.org/events.html. To download a flyer to distribute on the work floor and take to events, click here. Sample op-ed columns and background information can be downloaded here.
05/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
Congressional representatives should be serving us, the American people. Some members of Congress try to make things better for seniors and working families, while others attack our benefits and resources.
The good news: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Social Security Expansion Act, which would increase Social Security benefits by approximately $65 per month by using a formula that more accurately reflects cost-of-living increases that affect seniors. The bill also would require households with income over $250,000 to pay the 6.2 percent payroll tax required of most workers.
The bad news: The House Budget Committee introduced its proposal for Fiscal Year 2016, which contains cuts to Medicare beneficiaries. It also would privatize some aspects of the program by requiring vouchers. In addition, it would increase the contributions of postal and federal workers to their retirement – without an increase in benefits.
Every member of Congress should support budget proposals, resolutions and bills that protect America’s commitment to the working class, regardless of political party or affiliation.
03/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the March-April 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
The services that Americans depend on are often on the chopping block. When it comes to seniors, attacks on Social Security and Medicare are just the tip of the iceberg. Who exactly is standing up for retirees?
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Rep. Doris O. Matsui (D-CA) recently wrote a letter to President Obama, urging him “to work to strengthen and improve Social Security and Medicare benefits.” Schakowsky, who spoke at our last convention, also addressed concerns about the “Chained CPI” (Consumer Price Index) and proposals for cutting benefits through “means testing” – a phrase you will hear often during the 114th Congress.
So what exactly is “means testing” for Social Security and why are we opposed to it?
12/23/2014 - This article appeared in the January-February 2015 edition of The American Postal Worker.
General enrollment in Medicare is open from Jan. 1 through March 31, but don’t confuse the general enrollment period with your eligibility enrollment period: You are eligible to enroll in Medicare three months before you turn 65, the month of your 65th birthday, and three months after the month you turn 65.
You will be penalized if you enroll outside of your eligibility period and your options to enroll will be limited.
If you miss your eligibility window, you may sign up only during the general enrollment period at the beginning of the year, with few exceptions. And, if Social Security records reflect that you have enrolled late, you will be required to pay a penalty in addition to the monthly premium. The penalty for enrolling late is 10 percent for each year you delay enrollment in Medicare Part B.