WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase by 1.7 percent in 2015, benefiting nearly 64 million Americans. For Ohioans, this will result in an average benefit increase of $21.80 each month. Following the announcement, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) offered the following statement:
“Social Security provides disability insurance, life insurance and retirement insurance. The retirement program allows millions of seniors to retire with dignity,” Brown said. “Cost of Living Adjustments are designed to keep up with the rising cost of food, energy, prescription drugs, and housing. Today, the budgets of many seniors are already stretched to the breaking point and the current COLA formula does not make a realistic estimate of seniors’ true cost of living. We must uphold our promise to seniors that they will receive the insurance they have purchased. That means moving to the more realistic CPI-E formula.”
The cost of living adjustment (COLA) of 1.7 percent will be applied to the Social Security benefits received by more than 58 million Americans beginning in January. The more than 8 million Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries will see payments beginning December 31 of this year.
As chairman of the Finance Committee's Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions and Family Policy, Brown has held a series of hearings on the current retirement crisis and Social Security’s fundamental role in retirement security. In May 2014, Brown chaired a hearing, entitled “Strengthening Social Security to Meet the Needs of Tomorrow’s Retirees,” that examined the retirement challenges facing the next generation of retirees and how Social Security can be expanded to meet those needs. In Feb. 2014, Brown chaired the first Congressional hearing on the “myRA” retirement plan for low- and middle-income workers that was proposed by President Obama in his 2014 State of the Union Address. In Dec. 2013, Brown’s hearing examined “The Role of Social Security, Defined Benefits, and Private Retirement Accounts in the Face of the Retirement Crisis” and addressed the decline of defined benefit plans, the emergence of defined contribution plans, and Social Security’s fundamental role in retirement security.
Brown is also a lead cosponsor of the Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013, legislation that would increase benefits and extend the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund which nearly two in three Americans rely on for at least half of their income in old age. Specifically, the bill would:
- Strengthen Benefits by Reforming the Social Security Benefit Formula;
- Ensure that Cost of Living Adjustments Adequately Reflect the Living Expenses of Retirees; and
- Improve the Long Term Financial Condition of the Trust Fund.