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Letter to the House on $250 Payment to Seniors in the Absence of a COLA for Social Security

November 08, 2010

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association, including over 275,000 retired educators, we urge you to include public service retirees who are not eligible for Social Security in any legislation authorizing a $250 payment to seniors due to the absence of a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2011.  We hope the House will take this up during the upcoming lame-duck session. 

For the second year in a row, Social Security beneficiaries and their colleagues in the public service sector who are not covered by Social Security will receive no COLA.  Despite a relatively low general inflation rate, health care costs for seniors are going up.  Indeed, for a second year, public service retirees who are not eligible to receive Social Security will be required to pay the Medicare Part B premium increase in January while most Social Security beneficiaries will be protected from the anticipated rate hike. 

We support the House Leadership’s proposal to offer Social Security beneficiaries a one–time $250 payment in lieu of a COLA.  However, this proposal currently would not offer equivalent relief to over one million federal, postal, state, and local government retirees, including many educators, who are not eligible to receive Social Security benefits.   

Relief for seniors not eligible for Social Security was provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which included a $250 refundable tax credit for public service retirees not eligible for the Act’s $250 payment to Social Security recipients.  We urge you to follow this precedent by ensuring that any legislation to provide seniors a supplemental payment in lieu of a COLA includes equivalent relief for federal, state, and local government retirees not eligible to receive Social Security.

Thank you for your consideration of our views on this important issue.


Kim Anderson        
Director of Government Relations     

Mary Kusler
Manager of Federal Advocacy