Congressman Bilirakis understands the importance of Social Security and Medicare and believes these critical programs must remain fiscally solvent to ensure retirement security for current seniors, our children and grandchildren. However, Social Security has been operating at a deficit of $40 billion a year since 2010. Unless Social Security is modernized and strengthened, seniors could be in jeopardy.
To compensate for inflation, Social Security (SS) recipients usually receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment. For 2021, the Social Security Administration announced a 1.3% COLA increase. (updated 03/09/21). Seniors who pay their Medicare premiums with their Social Security benefits are protected from additional premium increases. Under the “hold harmless” provision for these seniors, Medicare premiums cannot increase beyond the S.S. COLA. About 70% of beneficiaries are protected under the hold harmless provision. Happily, the Tax Reform law is also helping seniors keep more of their money, by dropping the average senior from a 15% tax rate to 12% and doubling the standard deduction. Congressman Bilirakis knows seniors need to see more money in their pockets each month to make ends meet, and he is working with his colleagues on a way to ensure that happens.
Congressman Bilirakis is also a strong supporter of the Medicare program. Medicare is extremely important to seniors, and arguably the most popular aspects of the program – Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D – operate successfully because of free market principles. Medicare also needs to ensure its fiscal viability for current and future beneficiaries.
Congressman Bilirakis often says, “Don’t let politicians scare you. Everyone on both sides of the aisle want to preserve Social Security and Medicare.” He has filed legislation that would remove the politics from the equation by creating a bipartisan commission of experts to review all options for ensuring the long-term solvency of both vital programs. This approach worked in the early 80s and he believes it can be of help again.
Another issue impacting seniors is the recent increase in predatory and obnoxious robocalls. Robocalls are increasingly becoming a hassle for every American, especially seniors. The FCC has begun proceedings to fight back against these calls and empower service providers to block these abusive calls before they reach your phone. The House and Senate recently passed, and the President signed into law, the TRACED Act, which is the most significant action taken to combat robocalls. This bill provides more authority for the FCC to crack down on bad actors who prey upon the elderly and other vulnerable populations. The new law included legislation authored by Congressman Bilirakis to specifically ask the FCC to address One Ring Call Scams. This is one of the newest forms of cell phone scams, in which a person receives a call with one ring, prompting them to call back. Upon doing so, the caller is hit with exorbitant by-the-minute fees. The Congressman will continue to do all he can to protect seniors. Be sure to check out his consumer protection tab on the home page to learn more information.
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More on Seniors
Looking back on 2016, a turbulent year for sure in politics, we often saw the biggest rivalries and the loudest pundits take center stage. All along, my main focus was always working hard on behalf of Florida’s 12th District. We accomplished some important legislative wins for our communities, with 16 initiatives I wrote being signed into law this year.
While there’s still much work to be done, a unified Republican government come January will give us a strong foundation to solve the largest problems facing Florida and the entire country.
This summer, during Congress’ major district work period, I had the opportunity to meet with many of my constituents to hear their thoughts and ideas on the issues they care most about. While I come home every weekend, the August work period offers an extended period of time for me to truly connect with the residents of Florida’s Twelfth Congressional District. It has been a very busy, productive, and incredible summer. Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts and showing me the work they’re doing to make our communities thrive.
Congressman Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) this week held two town hall meetings in Florida’s twelfth congressional district to discuss legislative issues with constituents. The Congressman provided the local community with an update on the work he has been doing in Congress.
The Energy and Commerce Committee today advanced legislation to help encourage innovation and modernize our health care system, communications world, and the Federal Trade Commission for the 21st Century.
The Committee approved eight bipartisan solutions, including legislation Congressman Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) worked on: