Following the recent announcement that Social Security beneficiaries will receive only a 1.3 percent Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) next year, Congressman Max Rose is backing a proposal to grant an emergency COLA increase for seniors, who are among the most heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Social Security COLA for 2021 Act, of which Rose is an original co-sponsor, would grant an emergency 3 percent COLA for 2021.
"We've asked our seniors to put so much of their lives on hold over these past several months to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, but they haven't been able to hit pause on their bills," Rose said. "The Washington bureaucrats who thought a 1.3 percent cost-of-living increase was enough should come here and spend just one week trying to make ends meet in New York City. Even before COVID, we had one of the highest costs-of-living in the country, and while we still have a lot left to do in terms of giving our seniors much-needed relief, this would go a long way in helping them through these tough times."
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven up costs on everything from food and grocery deliveries to transportation and medical care. These rising costs are especially hard on Social Security beneficiaries, whose COLA formula does not reflect the actual costs seniors have and who must take extra precautions to stay safe. In fact, this year's announced COLA increase of 1.3 percent is below average for the past decade, and well below the 3 percent average for the period from 1999-2009.
The Emergency Social Security COLA for 2021 Act, which is endorsed by advocacy organizations like Social Security Works, The Senior Citizens League, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Justice in Aging, Alliance for Retired Americans, is the latest in Rose's efforts to fight for fight seniors and protect their access to Social Security and Medicare.
Last month, following Rose's push for more funding to clear the Social Security Administration's (SSA) backlog, his office announced that the wait time for Social Security disability cases in New York City was cut by more than half, and all four of the agency's New York offices are now beating the national average. Still, Rose continues to push SSA to open Social Security Hearing Offices on Staten Island and in South Brooklyn to further reduce wait times for his constituents. Rose's office has also helped secure or return over $18 million to Staten Islanders and South Brooklynites, including more than $555,000 from Social Security and more than $16 million in COVID-19 relief funding.