Says they ‘are in sync with our concerns’
Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens, and AMAC counselor, Bob Carlstrom, met with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team here yesterday. They provided a briefing on AMAC’s Social Security Guarantee and the association’s proposal to expand the Health Savings Account program.
“In the eight years of the current administration, the White House never once reached out to hear our views on issues impacting the lives of our members and other older Americans. The Trump administration is not yet even in place and they are already asking us for input. It signals an era of cooperation in which AMAC will participate fully. It will allow us to better serve the wants and needs of America’s seniors in a way that was not possible before,” Weber said.
In a statement issued after the meeting, Weber said that “the transition team is in sync with our concerns for America’s senior citizens including the need for new retirement and health care options, issues that our Social Security and Health Savings proposals address.
“We want a Social Security Guarantee for this generation and for future generations. It’s not an entitlement handout, as many would suggest; it’s an annuity they paid for all their working lives, a retirement fund that was supposed to be backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. But the government now says it may not have enough money to sustain the program for very long. Benefits can be cut by 25% in the future unless we act now. And, that’s not good news for a population that is living longer.
“What we need is a real and dedicated solution for fixing Social Security, not pie-in-the-sky theories. And we’ve proposed a plan that lawmakers seem to like. It involves what we call a Social Security Guarantee, a simple three-part reform that includes reasonable age setbacks for future recipients, guaranteed minimum cost of living increases and a provision for a new personal Early Retirement Account (ERA).
“Our Guarantee proposal addresses the special needs of poorer Social Security beneficiaries. It would provide beneficiaries earning a household income of $20,000 or less with an annual Cost Of Living increase of three to four percent. Recipients with incomes ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 would receive an increase of 1.5% to 3% maximum. And, those earning $50,001 or more would collect increases of 1% to 2%.
“The plan would also phase in a change, starting in 2017, in the normal retirement age by adding three months each year so that by 2024 the normal retirement age would be age 69, instead of the present age 66-67 depending on birth year. Early retirement would still be available at 62 years of age. It would also adjust the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) keeping lower income earners benefits the same and lowering benefits for higher income earners.
“Another important feature of our Guarantee is an Early Retirement Account as a way for those paying into Social Security to have some control of how the money is invested. It’s similar to an IRA or a 401(k) plan. But, in order to ensure that the ERA users avoid risky investments, half of the money deposited in their ERA accounts would have to be invested in guaranteed interest products such as government bonds or annuity contracts. Workers would be free to invest their balances in any other investment that meets certain suitability standards.
“Meanwhile, AMAC strongly supports the Health Care Choices Act, which has been proposed in the House. It would get rid of unnecessary and overburdening regulations that limit the use of Health Savings Accounts. Under current law, HSA owners are barred from using HSA funds to cover insurance premiums, direct primary care costs, over-the-counter drugs, and several other commonsense expenditures related to their health.
“Americans, and senior citizens, in particular, should have complete and total control over the purchasing and saving powers inherent in an HSA. This bill puts the decision-making power back in the hands of account holders by doubling the contribution limit—empowering individuals to determine how much money they need to save for their healthcare.
“If President-elect Trump and the Republican Congress were to support these proposals next year, individuals would be able to put away, tax free, as much as $6,550 instead of the current limit of $3,400 and families would be able to make up to $13,100 in tax free contributions instead of the current limit of $6,750.”
The Association of Mature American Citizens [http://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today at http://amac.us/join-amac.