Tucson, Ariz. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today highlighted the recently announced increase in Social Security benefit payments, the first since 2009, and called on Congress to strengthen the program further in coming months. The increase will take effect next January.
According to 2010 data – the latest available – there are 115,472 Social Security recipients, including 70,031 retired workers and 19,300 Social Security disability recipients, in the Seventh Congressional District.
As the Washington Post recently reported:
Starting in January, 55 million Social Security recipients will get increases averaging $39 a month, or just over $467 for the year. In December, more than 8 million people who receive Supplemental Security Income, the disability program for the poor, will get increases averaging $18 a month, or about $216 for the year. [. . .] The annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is tied to an inflation measure released Wednesday. The measure, which was adopted in the 1970s, produced no COLA in 2010 or 2011 because inflation was too low. Those were the first two years without a COLA since automatic increases were enacted in 1975. Social Security recipients did, however, receive a one-time $250 payment from the economic stimulus package passed in 2009.
“Most American retirees aren’t sitting on piles of money, as Social Security opponents like to imagine,” Grijalva said. “These payments mean that people who worked hard for decades are protected when they leave the workforce. After private companies’ pensions have dried up nationwide, any talk of cutting Social Security as a way to ‘save money’ is glib and irresponsible.”
In late March, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said of Social Security, “Listen, we’re going to have to come to grips with the fact that these programs cannot exist if we want America to be what we want America to be.”
For more information on taxes and Social Security benefits, see a brief Internal Revenue Service explanation at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=179091,00.html.