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Letters to the Editor

Cost of Living Increase For Senior Citizens Not Enough


October 13, 2022

To the Editor:

Each year a cost of living raise is doled out to senior citizens who collect Social Security benefits. Though the raise for 2022 was higher than previous years, it is still not enough to cover the ever skyrocketing cost of living. Each year Medicare raises the amount of money that is taken monthly to pay for Medicare benefits. But the deductible keeps increasing each year also. If a beneficiary has a Medicare Supplement plan or an Advantage plan those costs also increase. Monthly costs for a supplement increase each year with the plan holders age. Prescription plans change year to year also based on what Medicare and drug companies charge. If one has an Advantage plan co pays and prescription cost go up as well as the monthly cost of the plan.

We have seen rents increase drastically in the past 2 years. There is no real affordable housing for senior citizens. Complexes billed as seniors only are reaching the uppermost limits on rents and in some the renter has to pay extra to have a patio/balcony, private laundry hookups, an extra window and even a covered parking space.

Unless a senior citizen rents a government subsidized tiny apartment there is not enough affordable housing for the average senior citizen. We are getting ripped off and in a huge way and no one truly wants to take responsibility for doing it.

For example, a monthly Social Security raise of $51 a month in 2022 disappeared when monthly rent increased $50 a month. Add on to that an increase of $12.42 a month for a Medigap policy, and then the hike in Medicare Part B, which in 2022, is $170.10 that is taken from the Social Security check and the Medicare deductible increase of $25.

Where is the cost of living raise? Add on to that the rising cost of food and the hike in gas prices. Is it any wonder that there are so many poor and destitute senior citizens in the United States. They are getting ripped off everywhere and no one cares!

The 2023 COLA for Social Security will be between 9 and 10 percent. A recent article quoted Mary Johnson, the Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League, stating that the raise in Social Security benefits and the decrease in Medicare Part B premium and decrease in the Medicare deductible can be used to pay off credit cards, restock pantries and get some long-awaited repairs to homes and cars. In what universe does she live?

The actual yearly savings from the reduction of the Part B premium is $62.40. The annual deductible for Part B is decreasing by $7 a year. This is a total savings of $69.40 a year! How could this possibly restock a pantry, pay off a credit card or be used for postponed repairs to homes or a car?

The average monthly retirees Social Security benefit in April2022 was $1,666.49. Add a 9 percent COLA to this and the monthly benefit increases to $1816.47. Subtract the monthly Part B premium from this and it reduces to $1,651.57 a month. Though this is an increase of $155.18 after the deduction the premium, it still is not enough to keep up with rent increases, cost of gasoline, food and utilities. Keep in mind that this monthly benefit is not the same for all retirees.

There are many retirees receiving less than this average monthly benefit. Women are especially hurt by this because for many decades they were paid less than men were for the same jobs and therefore less money was deducted for Social Security and they get less in monthly benefits.

Gwendolyn Black



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