Bill Introduced to Strengthen Cost-of-Living Adjustments, Long-Term Financing

Last week, Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) introduced S. 3651 the Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act. The bill proposes using a more appropriate method of calculating cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security benefits, the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPI-E). The CPI-E takes into account costs and spending patterns for the elderly, such as average higher spending on medicines. Beneficiaries would receive slightly higher COLAs, on average, under the CPI-E as compared with an index that is currently used to calculate the Social Security COLA. The bill would also apply Social Security payroll taxes to all income, lifting the current cap that exempts annual income over approximately $114,000 from payroll taxes. This will help to ensure the long-term solvency of the Social Security system. The Arc supports efforts to ensure that Social Security benefits are adequate and that the system remains financially strong.