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Electric bus movement looks to accelerate; Macron says he has not ruled out using Western troop to help Ukraine stand-up to Russia; two rural Iowa newspapers saved from extinction; BLM announces added protections for sensitive Oregon landscape.

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Speaker Johnson commits to avoiding a government shutdown. Republican Senators call for a trial of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. And a Democratic Senator aims to ensure protection for IVF nationwide.

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David meets Goliath in Idaho pesticide conflict, to win over Gen Z voters, candidates are encouraged to support renewable energy and rural America needs help from Congress to continue affordable internet programs.

Concerns Loom for Social Security's Future Ahead of Benefit Increase

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Friday, October 7, 2022   

The roughly 2.4 million Ohioans who rely on Social Security income are expected to get a big boost in benefits, but advocates for the program are voicing concerns about its future stability, especially in this political climate.

The annual Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment or "COLA," which could be announced any day now, is predicted to be close to 9% for 2023.

Amid record high inflation, said Norman Wernet, president of the Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans, the increase will be crucial to help older Americans cope with inflation.

"Social Security is there because we need some way to have a life after a life of work," he said. "Not every worker has been able to put money back or have a good pension - and actually, pensions have been diminished over the last 30 years."

However, the Social Security Board of Trustees report continues to forecast a long-term cash shortfall that could lead to reduced benefits in 13 years. Some Republicans have floated cutting or sunsetting the program. But Wexner's group and others are supporting bills in Congress that would expand benefits and boost the cap on the amount of income subject to Social Security tax.

Jon Bauman, president of the advocacy group Social Security Works' pollitical action committee, explains that the current wage cap for the program is $147,000, which means those who make more than that don't have money withheld on the additional earnings. Bauman argued that the cap should be lifted.

"A Koch brother or Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos or a random rich person stopped paying at $147,000," he said. "So, if they made, like, $50 million that year, they're paying '.0000000000000001%' in - and how is that fair?"

He noted that the money in the Social Security Trust Fund comes directly from workers' wages during all their working life, plus their employers' contributions. One-point-eight-million Ohioans receiving Social Security benefits are age 65 or older.

Disclosure: Social Security Works contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Health Issues, Senior Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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