For the second year in a row - and only the second time since 1975 - American seniors will not see a cost-of-living adjustment to their Social Security benefits this year. Sen. Sanders has proposed a $250 emergency payment to help more than 50 million retirees and disabled Americans. Social Security benefits are linked to inflation through an outdated formula which does not accurately take into account the budgets of senior citizens who spend a disproportionate amount of their income on health care and prescription drugs.
"The problem is that for seniors, they purchase products and services very differently than the general population," Sanders told C-SPAN on Monday. "For example, if you want to go out and buy a laptop computer or flat screen, TV or a Kindle, prices have gone down. But most seniors are not buying those products. What most are buying are health care services and prescription drugs, and those services have, in fact, gone up. Long-term, I think what we need and I have fought for is a segregated index for seniors because their purchasing practices are very often much different than the general population and primarily focusing on health care needs."
The Senate last March 3 blocked a Sanders amendment to provide a $250 payment to Social Security recipients and others. Only one Republican senator voted for Sanders' amendment. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Friday said he intends to ask the Senate to pass a cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security recipients when the Senate reconvenes in November. President Obama also has called for a $250 payment to seniors and people with disabilities.
To watch Sen. Sanders interview on C-SPAN, click here.