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Engel Renews Push for Guaranteed 3% COLA Increases for Seniors

 Engel Renews Push for Guaranteed 3% COLA Increases for Seniors

Calls Lack of 2016 Social Security Benefit Increase ‘Disgraceful’

Washington D.C.- Following the announcement that there will be no increase in Social Security benefits in 2016, Congressman Eliot Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is once again renewing his push to ensure every American senior is guaranteed a reasonable cost of living increase annually. 

 For the third time in the last seven years, Social Security recipients will not receive an increase in benefits, which by law are tied to a government measure of inflation. The Guaranteed Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Seniors Act, legislation authored by Congressman Engel, would amend the current law by requiring the use of the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), rather than the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), when calculating annual cost of living adjustments for Social Security recipients. The bill would also ensure seniors get a minimum 3 percent COLA every year, even if the CPI-E COLA falls below this amount.

 “The government needs a new approach – one that recognizes the reality of rising costs in many areas, especially health care, that are putting pressure on American seniors. It is absolutely outrageous and disgraceful that our seniors are suffering because we continue to use an antiquated formula to determine cost of living increases," Congressman Engel said. "The CPI-E, which is specifically geared towards capturing inflation among the 62-and-over population, is a far better tool for determining annual cost of living adjustments than the CPI-W. But even with an improved formula, there needs to be a more substantial guaranteed annual increase in Social Security benefits to help the more than 70 million Americans who receive these vital benefits make ends meet.

 "I have introduced the Guaranteed Cost of Living Adjustment for Seniors Act each Congress since 2009, and will continue to sound the horn every year until it becomes law. Our seniors helped build this great country, and they deserve far better than to languish on the edges of poverty due to an outdated formula and Congressional inaction. I urge all of my colleagues to support this important legislation."