How will seniors do with no benefit boost?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Regarding the Oct. 16 editorial "Another senior moment," on the proposed $250 payments to seniors in lieu of a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment:

Yes, I've had the benefit of Social Security and Medicare for 15 years now. And, yes, my other income has diminished greatly as investments and interest rates plummeted in 2007 and 2008, and my house has lost much value. But those of us who lived through the Depression and World War II understand that there are times when we must sacrifice. I am well-fed and have a place to live. Many of our finest citizens risk their lives in Afghanistan. Highly skilled younger people who have children to put through college have lost their jobs and are desperately afraid, and many more skilled laborers have been unemployed for years and for them the recession is personal and unrelenting.

It is sensible and fair in this economic crisis that Social Security payments remain the same for another year. It is time for those of us who have retired to be ready to sacrifice for those who have been fired.

Marguerite Butsuris Rhodes, Washington

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For the second year running, the official inflation rate is too low to trigger a cost-of-living adjustment in Social Security benefits. The Post's editorial criticized any attempt by the president or Congress to provide some other form of relief to retired Americans.

The official inflation rate is based on a "market basket" of prices that has long been recognized as less than perfectly representative of anyone's true cost of living. I am a senior largely dependent on Social Security. I live in an apartment; since the last adjustment in Social Security benefits, my rent has risen by more than $150 per month. Food costs have risen; transportation costs have exploded (especially Metro and Metrobus). My basic expenses this year, adjusted to reflect a rent increase that takes effect Nov. 1, will be $225 a month more than they were in 2008. If that isn't inflation, what is it?

If The Post's editorialists view the low official inflation rate as indicative that seniors can live now on what they lived on in 2008, it is they who are having the "senior moment."

Lynda Meyers, Arlington


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