Stimulus check for Social Security recipients? Why a senior citizens group says it's urgent

A senior citizens group is increasing its pressure on Congress to send out a fourth stimulus check to Social Security recipients. (iStock)

The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a nonpartisan senior group, is pushing Congress to issue a fourth stimulus check of $1,400 to Social Security recipients.

TSCL Chairman Rick Delaney sent letters to congressional leaders, calling for another round of stimulus checks for those on Social Security income (SSI), according to an update last month from the group.

"We’ve heard from thousands of them [seniors] who have exhausted their retirement savings, who have started eating just one meal a day, started cutting their pills in half because they can’t afford their prescription drugs, to list just a few of the drastic steps so many have had to take because of what inflation has done to them this year," the letter stated. "Many have written to us that ‘our government has forgotten about us.’"

"A $1,400.00 stimulus check, for Social Security recipients, could be a way to get extra non-taxable income to them," Delaney stated in the letter.

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Inflation leaves seniors struggling

As inflation surges, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced that beneficiaries will see an increase of 5.9% in benefits next year, the largest boost in nearly 40 years. The increase is due to a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) which determines changes in Social Security payments each year.

"This would be the highest COLA that most beneficiaries living today have ever seen," Mary Johnson, The Senior Citizens League Social Security and Medicare policy analyst, said. "But a high COLA means exceptionally high inflation is impacting consumers. The Senior Citizens League has received more than 200 emails over the past month, with many retired and disabled senders describing the dire situations they face as rapidly rising inflation makes it impossible to pay the bills."

SSA increased payments by an average 1.4% over the past 12 years, and 1.3% for 2021. Now, TSCG says this increase is too little, too late, as seniors deal with rising inflation and other costs.

"Over the past 21 years, COLAs have raised Social Security benefits by 55% but housing costs rose nearly 118% and healthcare costs rose 145% over the same period," Johnson said.

The senior citizens group said economic impact payments for eligible individuals on Social Security retirement income could help offset these costs.

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TSCL creates a petition

Despite the pressure and letters from TSCL, the group said there has not been any congressional support for a fourth stimulus check. In response, the senior citizens group created a petition to increase awareness and support of a stimulus check to Social Security recipients.

"In 2021 Social Security benefits increased by just 1.3% raising the average benefit by only about $20 a month," the petition states. "But about 86% of Social Security recipients surveyed say their expenses increased by much more than that amount."

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