05 February 2010

Obama: $250 to Seniors in Budget

President's Budget Includes $250 Stimulus Payment for Social
Security Recipients

President Obama's Fiscal Year 2011 budget proposes a $250 payment to
Social Security recipients. The relief would come at a time when Social
Security beneficiaries will not be receiving a normal cost-of-living
adjustment (COLA) because of a formula that forbids adjustments during
times of negative inflation.

"Without a COLA, far too many of America's seniors will find it even
more difficult to purchase basic necessities, heat their homes and pay
for their medications," said Barbara J.Easterling, President of the
Alliance for Retired Americans. "We urge Congress to similarly work to
provide much-needed economic relief to older Americans who are
struggling to make ends meet during these difficult times," she
continued. "The President's budget proposal will provide Social
Security beneficiaries with the equivalent of a 2% increase in benefits
and will help greatly to bolster their financial security."

As expected, the budget also calls for a Bipartisan Fiscal Commission
that will address the growth of entitlement spending, including Social
Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. A plan to freeze non-security
discretionary spending for three years to address the budget deficit
would not affect those programs.

"We must watch this fiscal commission development carefully, so that
the budget is not balanced on the backs of seniors," said
Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance.

Other items in the budget are aimed at supporting seniors. These include
$3.3-billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP);
funds to reduce Social Security backlogs; and money to help families
care for aging relatives at home. Retirement security initiatives
include establishing automatic workplace IRAs, with employees being able
to "opt-out" if they choose; doubling the credit for small employers
starting a retirement plan; and providing a 50-percent match on the
retirement savings of families that earn less than $85,000.

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