October 15, 2018

Hirono Applauds Social Security Cost of Living Increase

HONOLULU– Last week, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that beneficiaries will receive a 2.8% Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) increase for 2019, the highest increase since 2012.

“Social Security is an earned benefit that provides a critical source of income for millions of individuals and families around the country, including thousands in Hawaii,” Senator Hirono said. “The 2019 COLA increase is welcome news for Hawaii seniors and other beneficiaries who worked hard, but more must be done to ensure fair and regular benefit increases to keep pace with rising living expenses. That is why I will continue working to advance legislation that protects and expands Social Security and will keep up the fight against efforts to cut benefits.”

“While the 2019 COLA is the largest increase Social Security beneficiaries have received in several years, it isn't enough to keep up with the rising cost of living for seniors. We strongly urge Congress to tie future Social Security COLAs to the CPI-E, which takes into account the things seniors must purchase, especially prescription drugs, health care and housing,” Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans said. “The Alliance applauds Senator Hirono for her dedication to Hawaii retirees through her appearances at our state meetings and her 100% lifetime score on our Congressional Voting Record.  Her commitment  to expand Social Security and ensure an accurate COLA is another example of her leadership.”

“This year's cost of living increase is relatively good news for Social Security beneficiaries and their families. Yet it will be quickly consumed by rising expenses, particularly healthcare costs,” Alex Lawson, Executive Director of Social Security Works said. “That's why we are fighting alongside Senator Hirono and other champions in Congress to expand Social Security, including enacting a more accurate formula for calculating COLAs that reflects the real costs seniors and Americans with disabilities face.”

Senator Hirono has a long record of fighting for Social Security, and last year reintroduced legislation to restore fairness in contributions and provide a more accurate measure of COLA that takes into consideration increasing costs for seniors and other beneficiaries year after year through the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly, or CPI-E. At the time, SSA estimated that her legislation would also provide an additional 25 years of solvency for Social Security benefits.

More recently, Senator Hirono renewed her call for Congress to strengthen Social Security, and joined the bicameral Expand Social Security Caucus to increase benefits for current beneficiaries, and strengthen the program for years to come.

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