Shea-Porter Takes Action to Strengthen Social Security
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) is co-introducing two bills to strengthen Social Security and boost benefits for seniors and veterans: the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) Act, and the Protecting Our Widows and Widowers in Retirement (POWR) Act.
“New Hampshire seniors have earned their Social Security benefits through a lifetime of hard work, and the bills I co-introduced today can make those benefits stronger,” said Shea-Porter. “I’m working to defend and strengthen Social Security, because I understand how vital these benefits are to seniors’ retirement security.”
The CPI-E Act of 2017 would adopt a more accurate measure to calculate Social Security payments called the CPI-E. Since 1972, Social Security has used the Consumer Price Index to calculate cost-of living increases, but now there is a more accurate CPI for seniors, the CPI-E, which is tailored to reflect spending patterns of households with individuals age 62 or older. Older Americans spend a much larger share of their total budgets on medical care, and in recent years medical care inflation has increased significantly more than inflation for most other goods and services. Adopting this fairer measure to calculate cost-of-living increases would help ensure seniors’ benefits keep up with real-world prices. The bill would also apply CPI-E to veterans’ and military retirement and survivor benefit programs.
The POWR Act, which Shea-Porter will co-introduce with Rep. Linda Sanchez, would increase Social Security benefits for widows and widowers, who are unfairly penalized by the current survivors benefit formula. The bill would create an alternative benefit equal to 75 percent of the combined Social Security income received while both spouses were alive, protecting surviving spouses from financial ruin.
A longtime advocate for older Americans, Congresswoman Shea-Porter has spearheaded a number of successful initiatives to protect and strengthen seniors’ benefits. She led the fight to close the prescription drug "donut hole," which made drugs unaffordable for seniors. Because of Shea-Porter’s work to close the donut hole, more than 21,000 New Hampshire seniors saved an average of $1,047 each in 2015. Shea-Porter was a leader in the successful 2013 fight against the chained CPI budget proposal that would have effectively cut benefits for Social Security recipients by lowering COLA increases, shifting more costs onto American seniors, families, and veterans. She opposes turning Medicare into a voucher program, and she will keep fighting any plan to privatize Social Security or to reduce retirement income and security.