Smith supports new methods to more accurately determine cost-of-living adjustments for seniorsWorking for Better COLA Calculations for Seniors
Today’s announced 2.8 percent Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) increase for seniors is better than last year, but still not reflective of the real cost-of-living increases seniors face, said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who is pushing for legislation to establish a more accurate cost-of-living adjustment mechanism for seniors.
“While a 2.8 percent increase is an improvement upon the previous benefits, the reality is that it still does not meet the needs of today’s seniors,” Smith said. “We must ensure that the benefits they earned are an up-to-date reflection of their daily needs, and this will require a new and more accurate measurement of their cost-of-living.”
“Social Security is a sacred trust, and we must honor this trust by strengthening this program to ensure that the benefits meet the needs of those who rely on them for their livelihood,” Smith said.
Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA) are currently tied to the Consumer Price Index. Smith has supported the creation of new measurements to more accurately reflect the costs of goods and services that today’s seniors face, such as healthcare spending.
Smith has cosponsored the CPI for Seniors Act (HR 2016), a bipartisan bill requiring the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to develop and publish a new monthly index, the Consumer Price Index for Seniors, that measures changes in consumer spending more typical for Americans age 62 and older.
“We need to base future Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA) on items that seniors spend their money on, such as medical procedures, medication, and Medicare premiums. These are the cost-of-living expenses that most strongly influence a senior’s household budget,” Smith said.
“I will continue fight for a revised COLA formula that gives more accurate weight to the types of expenses seniors endure—so that the annual COLA keeps pace with expenses more typical of seniors’ cost-of-living.”
More than 67 million Americans will see the 2.8 percent benefit increase for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the Social Security Administration announced on Thursday, and the increased payments will take place beginning Dec. 31, 2018. The adjustment was due to an increase in the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of 2017 through the third quarter of 2018.