Merkley Decries Inadequate Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment

Merkley Decries Inadequate Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment

Calls for formula to be changed to reflect real costs seniors face

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after the Social Security Administration announced a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of only .3 percent for 2017. This news follows a COLA of zero for 2016.

“With today’s announcement, the Social Security Administration is saying that seniors only need about five extra dollars a month to cover rising costs for next year. To anyone who truly believes that is adequate, I invite you to come to Oregon and tell that to seniors who are dealing with skyrocketing prescription drug prices, or who face eviction due to double-digit rent increases. This so-called ‘cost-of-living adjustment’ should serve as a wakeup call that the current consumer price index is not working for Social Security benefits. Social Security is the bedrock of retirement security in our nation, and if we want to make sure that the value of Social Security benefits doesn’t become dangerously eroded over time, we need to act now to put in place a consumer price index that reflects the true costs seniors face.”

Merkley is a cosponsor of the SAVE Benefits Act, which would give seniors a one-time emergency payment averaging $581 to make up for the lack of 2016 COLA, and the Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act, which would move the Social Security consumer price index over to a model specifically built around the needs and costs faced by seniors.