WASHINGTON, March 3 - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today proposed an amendment to provide $250 payments to 55 million seniors who, for the first time in decades, received no increase this year in Social Security.
The payments also would go to recipients of veterans' benefits and disability benefits as well as railroad retirees and retired public employees who don't receive Social Security.
"In the midst of a major recession, with health care and prescription drug costs rising rapidly, we cannot forget about the millions of seniors and disabled veterans who are struggling hard to keep their heads above water," Sanders said.
President Obama supports the proposal that would provide the one-time payments for the year when there was no Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for the first time since 1975.
The $250 payments would match what seniors received last year as part of the economic recovery package enacted in 2009.
The average monthly Social Security payment for retirees is $1,160.
Sanders' proposal was offered as an amendment to legislation extending unemployment benefits through the end of the year. The amendment is cosponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y).
AARP, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare are among the organizations backing the proposal. "Without relief, millions of older Americans will be unable to afford skyrocketing health care and prescription drug costs," according to AARP.
To read the amendment, click here.
To watch the senator's floor speech, click here.
To read the AARP press release in support of the Sanders amendment on the day it was introduced, click here.