NRLN Calls On President And Congress To Include Low-Income Retirees For Share Of Economic Stimulus Rebates
Many Social Security Participants Could Use Rebate Check To Pay For Living Necessities
WASHINGTON – (Monday, January 28, 2008) The president of the National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN) called today for President Bush and members of Congress to support legislation that would include low-income, older Americans in the plans for tax rebates to stimulate the country’s economy.
“When the Bush Administration and leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives announced last Thursday they had agreed on an economic stimulus package, they ignored the fact that retirees who live from month to month mainly on their Social Security are part of America’s economy,” said Bill Kadereit, NRLN President. “It is unconscionable for low-income seniors to be left out of sharing in the economic stimulus plans.”
Under the legislation proposed in the House, about 20 million seniors living solely or chiefly on Social Security would not receive a rebate unless they have at least $3,000 of earned income. Individuals with higher incomes will get 10 percent of the first $6,000 of taxable income up to a $600 rebate, or 10 percent of the first $12,000 of taxable income if married and filing jointly for a maximum rebate of $1,200.
If individuals pay no income taxes but have earned at least $3,000 in wages, they will be eligible for a $300 rebate, or $600 if married.
Kadereit said the NRLN supports Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus’ interest in providing checks to low-income retirees who are left out of the House plan because they cannot show $3,000 in earned income. “If a married couple earning up to $150,000 will be eligible for at least a partial rebate, it would be grossly unfair not to provide some level of rebates to those struggling to survive on their Social Security checks,” Kadereit said. “Retirees can use the extra dollars from a rebate immediately to pay for food, clothing, shelter, increased healthcare premiums, and the higher prescription drug costs largely caused by politicians’ failure to create competition, competitive bidding, importation, and expeditious generic drug approvals.
“The President’s and the House Democrat and Republican leader’s intent to exclude low-income older Americans from the rebates is another example of how our elected officials are hammering retirees once again,” he said. “This comes only a month after the administration’s EEOC rule was published, allowing employers to reduce healthcare benefits for Medicare-eligible retirees and the continuing wanton disregard for the hardships caused by employers shifting healthcare insurance costs to tens of millions of retirees.”
Kadereit said the NRLN applauds the Democrat Senators who have begun efforts to include retirees living on Social Security among the Americans to receive rebate checks. He said members of the NRLN’s grassroots network from every state in the nation have been asked to communicate to President Bush and their elected representatives their displeasure with the proposed legislation to exclude low-income retirees from having the opportunity to help the country’s economy to rebound.
Based in Washington, D.C., the NRLN is dedicated to securing federal legislation that will guarantee the fair and equitable treatment of retirees in the private and public sector. The NRLN represents a non-partisan, grassroots coalition of retiree associations with a combined membership of some two million men and women who are seeking to protect their pension and healthcare benefits. For more information, visit the NRLN Web site at http://www.nrln.org.