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One in Seven Seniors Faces Social Security Check Cuts in 2010
Date:6/10/2009

At Least 6.8 Million Affected; Total Could Include Millions More

WASHINGTON, June 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Close to seven million seniors -- one in every seven -- will receive a smaller Social Security check next year, according to a new analysis by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). Millions of other seniors who do not have their Medicare premiums automatically deducted from their checks will also have fewer Social Security dollars leftover next year.

These seniors will be affected because their Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is forecast to be zero next year, while their Medicare Part B (doctors' visits, tests, and outpatient hospital care), Part C (Medicare Advantage) and/or Part D (prescription drugs) premiums are forecast to rise.

Affected seniors generally fall into one of two groups, if not both:

  1. MEDICARE PART B: HOLD HARMLESS PROVISION: Approximately three million seniors will endure cuts because they are not protected by a "hold harmless" provision that prevents the vast majority of beneficiaries from receiving smaller Social Security checks in years when Medicare Part B premiums exceed the COLA. Two groups of seniors will not receive hold harmless protection in 2010:
    1. MEANS TESTING: 2,121,500 beneficiaries who pay higher premiums due to Part B "means testing." Individuals with adjusted gross incomes (AGI) above $85,000 and couples over $170,000 are affected.
    2. NEW ENROLLEES: 848,000 new enrollees will pay the 2010 premium rate, forecast by Medicare's Trustees to be $104.20 per month, instead of the current rate of $96.40 per month that tens of millions of seniors will continue to pay next year due to hold harmless.
  2. MEDICARE PARTS C & D: More than 3.8 million other seniors will see smaller Social Security checks next yea
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SOURCE The Senior Citizens League
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