Senior citizens are having to stretch their dollars more after two years without a Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment according to an advocacy group. The Seniors Citizens League says older Americans have lost 32% of their buying power since 2000.
The group’s 2011 survey of senior costs report shows housing, utilities, transportation, health care and food costs are among those that have risen the most.
Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare Policy Analyst, says health care costs are not fully reflected in the COLA seniors receive and she says that has a lot to do with why it’s not keeping up with the costs. For example, Johnson says Medicare Part B premiums have risen 154% since 2000.
Johnson says we need to start with a more fair and reliable COLA. She says the League supports legislation that would more accurately reflect senior costs. She adds they also support a guaranteed minimum COLA.
Johnson says seniors are making difficult choices as a result of the loss of buying power. Some are delaying necessary visits to the doctor and filling prescriptions. Johnson says some seniors have younger relatives who are unemployed living with them and some older Americans are returning to the job market to supplement their income.
The Senior Citizens League is an advocacy group that was first established as a special project of The Retired Enlisted Association. The full report is available at their website.