Last week, the Social Security Administration announced that Social Security recipients will receive a standard of living increase of 3.6 percent in 2012. This announcement comes after two years in a row without a cost of living increase adjustment (COLA). The increase is expected to benefit more than 60 million Social Security beneficiaries beginning in January 2012.
"Many senior citizens rely heavily on their Social Security and for some it is their only source of income," stated Westmoreland. "Over these last two years without a cost of living adjustment they have suffered on a daily basis -- often having to choose between filling their prescription or purchasing dinner. I know I have received hundreds -- if not thousands -- of calls from seniors affected by the idled COLA since 2009 who will be relieved to hear this week's announcement."
A Social Security COLA is based upon the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In 2010, for the first time since 1975, Social Security did not receive a COLA because of the economic problems in 2008 and 2009. The stagnated COLAs has been especially hard on Social Security recipients because many costs for seniors, such as health care, are rising at a much faster rate than the CPI.
"I am happy to see Social Security beneficiaries will once again see a cost of living adjustment in 2012,"stated Westmoreland. "But this does not address the bigger issue facing many of our seniors who rely solely on Social Security benefits -- including the potentially unfair basis of COLAs and whether Social Security will be sustainable in their lifetime. House Republicans have been working to reform and improve Social Security for today's seniors and generations to come. As we continue down this road, I want to reassure seniors in Georgia's Third Congressional District that I will fight to protect their Social Security while working to protect Social Security for their children and grandchildren."