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Economic Stimulus Package Offers Little Help to Seniors in Poverty

Workers Making $75,000 Would Get $500 in Relief; Seniors with Average Social Security Income of $13,836 Would Get Just $300

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Senate version of the economic stimulus package would provide Social Security recipients and disabled veterans a one-time extra payment of $300.

The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) supports the $300 payment to seniors, but maintains that amount is insufficient to truly help the nation's poorest seniors. The average Social Security beneficiary receives just $13,836 per year, and more than 10 percent of seniors live below the poverty line.

TSCL is advocating for as much as $1,000 in relief for the nation's poorest seniors - the same amount couples earning up to $150,000 per year would receive.

A recent study released by TSCL found that seniors lost 51 percent of their buying power since 2000, a result of costs increasing more rapidly than the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment.

"It's difficult to understand why the Senate would give the least money to the most vulnerable group in our economy," said Daniel O'Connell, chairman of The Senior Citizens League. "It seems clear that seniors - especially those barely getting by - are precisely the people that will stimulate the economy by spending their stimulus checks."

"We receive phone calls from seniors every day who are having a tough time paying for their prescriptions, groceries, and rent - these are the very people who need the stimulus most," said Shannon Benton, executive director of TSCL.

TSCL is concerned with one part of the Senate proposal: since workers would not pay a portion of their Social Security taxes, the Social Security Trust Fund would go into deficit spending as soon as 2010. TSCL encourages lawmakers to take the money required for this tax relief from the general treasury rather than the Trust Fund.

With 1.2 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of The Retired Enlisted Association. Visit for more information.

SOURCE The Senior Citizens League
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