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Social Security Issues

Archives: 2002

The Economic Challenges facing Women as They Age (November, 2002)
Here are excerpts from Dr. Alicia Munnell’s Keynote Address at the November 2002 “Women and Aging: Issues for Life” organized by the New York Citizens’ Committee on Aging Conference in New York  City.   For more information call the NYCCOA at 212 353 3950 or email :

U.S. to Review Big Payments for Medicare (November 13, 2002)
The US federal government said last week that they planned a wide audit to make sure the payments to hospitals under Medicare are properly used only for this program. In some cases they fear reimbursement frauds.

Study Tells U.S. to Pay More for the Best Medical Care (October 30, 2002)
The influential National Academy of Science has urged the government to use its power as “single buyer” to reward good performance from doctors, hospitals or nursing homes via higher fees or bonuses paid by Medicare and Medicaid. 

What Seniors and Baby Boomers Need to Know About Medicare (October 28, 2002)
Here is an interesting article to help baby-boomers know more about the U.S. Medicare program. There are two parts, one free for the hospital costs and the other for medical costs but with a monthly fee.

Lower Medicare Payouts Concern Bush Officials (October 25, 2002)
Many doctors will be obliged to limit health care for the elderly if cuts are made in Medicare payments. Does the Bush’s government know that it will be harder for Medicare patients to find physicians willing to treat them? Do they even care?

Bush Seeks to Speed Low - Cost Generic Drug Access (October 21, 2002)
Two weeks before congressional elections in which prescription drug costs have been an issue, President Bush proposed new regulations aimed at bringing lower-cost generic drugs to market faster.

Bush Seeks More Rules to Protect 401(k) Plans (October 20, 2002)
In light of recent scandals,
President Bush said that "more steps are needed" to protect employee retirement who saved money in tax-advantaged 401 (k) plans by investing money in their own company shares.

Social Security Announces 1.4 Percent  Increase for 2003 (October 18, 2002)
Good news for American people’s monthly income, among them elderly. The SSI announces a 1.4 % increase in 2003.
See also Fact Sheet Social Security 2003 SOCIAL SECURITY CHANGES

 Black Friday for America’s Senior Citizens (October 18, 2002)
More and more healthcare providers refuse to take Medicare patients, because the rates of pay from government are too low. The Bush Administration announced the smallest increase in Social Security payments in years and large increases in Medicare costs: "Social Security payments in 2003 will go up only 1.4 percent, while the deductible for Medicare Part A increases 3.5 percent and the premium for Part B jumps by 8.7%. "

Ads Support Social Security Reform (October 2, 2002)
Social Security television ads and other print media will be seen this month (October, 2002) to protect our Social Security System. Bush’s bipartisan commission favoring personal investment accounts is discussed.

Comparison of the liability provision (October 2002)
The paper briefly discusses the liability issue that the legislation provisions are intended to address.  What follows is a description of the liability provisions of the Senate and House proposals.

  Davis to Sign Bill Allowing Paid Family Leave (September 23, 2002)
Measure grants most workers time off to care for a new child or sick family members. Supporters see it as a model for the nation.

Pension Fund Bids for U.S. Airways Stake (September 19, 2002)
Alabama’s pension fund make an other investment in US Airways debt : 240 million dollars.

The Long Term Care Conundrum (September-October 2002)
The cost of long term care has the potential to bankrupt most families very quickly. Using Medicaid as the primary payer for long term care is a demeaning outdated approach to As the baby boomers begin to utilize Medicaid, we will see a dramatic increase in government expenditures to pay for long term care.

Goodbye Surplus. Hello, Train Wreck (September 3, 2002)
Bush's tax cuts brought the budget deficit back, making it much tougher to pay health and retirement benefits for aging baby boomers.  Expected payments of social security are looking more and more elusive as events unravel.

Just Trust Us (August 30, 2002)
Paul Krugman believes that the public has been duped. Bush’s promise to “not dip into the Social Security Surplus” has simply not come true.

People Like Social Security as Is, Says Washington Poll (August 20, 2002)
Seems that overwhelming majority of people want to keep Social Security as is.  Washington Poll, highlights that only young adults between the ages of 18-24 were more interested in privatizing social security.

Social Security, Medicare projections improve ( August 19, 2002)
Both Social Security and Medicare are threatened by demographic realities: There won't be enough workers paying into the systems in two decades to support 100% of the benefits promised to the 77 million retirees of the baby boom generation

Teachers Using Loophole (August 15, 2002)
Investigations are under way concerning the 4,800 teachers from Texas and Georgia who used a social security loophole, allowing them to receive higher benefits after retiring.

Social Security Shell Game (August 12, 2002)
Former senators Bob Kerrey (Dem) and Warren B. Rudman (GOP) touch on major social security issues effecting seniors and baby-boomers.  Today’s system promises far more in future benefits than it can possibly deliver.

Open a Book, Then Dare to Open That 401(k) Envelope (August 4, 2002)
The articles present new perspectives to the old idea of private pension plans.

The Private Interest (July 26, 2002)
Bush doggedly pushes partial privatization of Social Security to the table.  Success in privatization highly depends on the stock market.  The recent downturn in markets makes many middle class Americans vulnerable.

Stocks' Slide Undermines Support for Social Security Privatization (July 23, 2002)
Bush campaigned with privatizing Social Security in the 2000 election year.  Currently, with the market so unstable, the plans’ approval rating slipped from 46% to 41%.

Democrats See Scandals as Chance to Attack Privatizating Social Security (July 13, 2002)
In light of the widespread accounting and insider trading scandals, the Republicans refuse to debate the issue of privatization of the Social Security.  However, Democrats are pressing Republicans to debate this issue as Congressional elections approach.

Regarding Long-term Budget Implications for Social Security (June 19, 2002)
The speech, given by Barbara Kennelly, the President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, presents arguments to preserve Social Security. Kenelly claims that we do not need privatization of Social Security, but indeed we ought to debate in order to strengthen the program. She states that we can and ought to make Social Security strong. Possible steps are considered.

The Attorney General Goes to War (June 16, 2002)
Eliot L. Spitzer, the attorney general of New York declares war on Wall Street. Dealing with large-scale targets such as gun manufactures, drug companies and Midwestern polluters, Spitzer turned to market practices. Recently, he announced that research analysts at Merill Lynch had published false and misleading stock recommendations. In result, the company is charged with $100 million, and company’s policies and practices will be changed.

'Reinventing the Bazaar': Designing Markets (June 16, 2002)
The article presents the overview of John McMillan’s book, “Reinventing the Bazaar”. John McMillan is a professor of economics at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. In his book, he argues that markets are productive and beneficial for society; the government has to provide certain conditions for markets to function properly, and the free markets are the only path away from poverty for developing countries.

Social Security Issue Rattling Races for Congress (June 4, 2002)
In this election year, Republicans “changed” their attitude toward Social Security. Regardless of the previous battles for privatization of social security, Republicans do not have the privatization issue of Social Security on their agenda in order to minimize the attacks coming from Democrats in the coming “heat of election”.  

The gang that couldn't loot straight (June 2, 2002)
William Wolman and Anne Colamosca, in their new book “The Great 401(k) Hoax: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Family and Your Future,” say that privatization of Social Security and a shift of retirement money to 401(k) would endanger the entire generation.

Women over 65 half as likely to receive pensions; Those who do, get only half as much as men (May 22, 2002)
A study released by the Institute for Women's Policy Research found that women are less likely to receive pensions, and those pensions are a fraction of what men receive.  Most part-time workers are women, and men tend to be in the workforce more often.  Another reason for the smaller pensions is because women generally earn less than men.  Dr. Heidi Hartmann, president and CEO of IWPR, argues that defined benefit plans are more beneficial to the retiree than defined contribution plans.   

House Boosts Social Security for Some (May 15, 2002)
The House has increased Social Security benefits for approximately 120.000 widows and divorced women. It would increase the benefit limit for widows whose spouses both retire and die before they reach full retirement age and cancel the two-year waiting period for divorced women who remarry to receive benefits.

Boomers' Retirement Wave Likely to Begin in Just 6 Years (April 2002) The first of the boomers will be 65 in 2011, often cited as the year when the age wave will arrive. Yet for over a decade, more than half of the new recipients of Social Security benefits have opted to collect them at age 62, and close to 70 percent have done so before age 65. Consequently, it is more realistic to anticipate the leading edge of the boomer wave hitting in 2008.

Pension Change Puts the Burden on the Worker (April 5, 2002)
The milestone is has its advantages since 401(k)'s and other retirement accounts were never intended to be the main way for an employee to save for retirement, they were only expected to supplement company-financed pension plans. But it lacks the protection of the old pension plans, such as benefit and federal insurance to protect retirees if a company goes bankrupt.

Do You Plan to Retire? Think Again (March 31, 2002)
The day is approaching when Americans will not have enough money when retiring. Congress should consider whether only 401(k) savings are enough, or whether there are better ways of saving for the future.

Recession Won't Impact Social Security, Trustees Report i
(March 26, 2002)

Trustees reported that the recession did not affect the financial health of Social Security and Medicare, but Congress needs to take steps to support the programs before baby boomers reach retirement age. ``The longer we wait the more difficult our choices will be in the future,'' ``We cannot be so irresponsible we leave this problem for the next generation,'' said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.

How Much Will You Need to Retire? It Helps to Plan (March 17, 2002)
Some financial advisers convince retirees that they will need from 70 to 80 percent of their pre-retirement income to live comfortably when finishing work. Other advisers disagree. It is believed that if your home is paid for, you may need much less to retire than expected.

First Came 401(k)'s. Now, Some Advice (March 12, 2002)
Many people were making wrong judgments when it came to investing their 401 (k) money.  What is missing is some good advice from a personal financial adviser, but that may require some initiative and some money. 

Setting the Time on the Benefits Clock (March 12, 2002)
Planning for retirement can be a frustrating job, since you have no idea how long you are going to live or need your retirement, it is then difficult to decide when to take your social security benefits, or what to do with your pension or 401(k).

Start Thinking About Retirement Plans (March 7, 2002)
For some businesses, a retirement plan needs to be a priority for 2002. Choosing a retirement plan may not be so easy, there are many considerations that go into selecting a plan, so if a business owner doesn't have extensive knowledge about retirement plans they should consult an accountant or benefits specialist 

Unreported Abuse Found at Nursing Homes (March 1, 2002) Investigators say that both physical and sexual abuse of residents of nursing homes have not been reported to the authorities on time and is also rarely prosecuted. Residents suffered serious injuries and in some cases may even have died.  

More U.S. Births, A Bit Less Stress On Social Security 
(February 25, 2002)

The U.S. birth rate rose to its highest level. That is the first time since 1971 that the birth rate has reached a level high enough to offset deaths. Population growth equals economic growth, but the writer worries whether the rate of population growth is strong enough.

Elderly Say Budget Plan Will Cut a Needed Meal (February 20, 2002)
Mayor Bloomberg proposed cutting the city's budget for the elderly by $26.1 million or 16% on Wednesday February 20. The program that the mayor plans to eliminate for a saving of $6 million provides a weekend meal to 12,000 elderly men and women.

Couples Need to Plan Retirement (February 19, 2002)
Women live longer then men, but they often work less and earn less since they drop out  to take care of their babies, reducing their pension and retirement benefits. Couples should start considering these factors when planning for retirement.

Workers Find Retirement Is Receding Toward 70 (February 4, 2002)
Americans are changing their retirement age. From World War II until the mid-1980's, people retired at a younger age. But then, as 401(k) plans gained approval and people stayed healthy longer, the trend gradually reversed. Now the children whose parents stopped working at 65 are finding that they must stay on the job until their late 60's or early 70's if they want to live as well in retirement

Republicans Can Win on Social Security (January 31, 2002)
The author argues that Republicans have to openly campaign on the privatization of Social Security in this election year. He emphasizes how the President could promote and save the election for Republicans. In addition, he strongly states that market but not the government can manage Social Security in the most “efficient” and “safe” way. 

City Reviewing Investment Strategy for Its Pensions (January 30, 2002)
New York and Florida are both joined in the same struggle after losing millions of dollars in Enron investments. Teachers, firefighters, police officers and other workers lost $ 109 million in pension funds in New York City due to Enron investments and $25 million in Kmart investments. The state sold its remaining Kmart stock on Friday, after shares dropped to $1.74 each, and is going to try to recuperate the $109 million lost in funds. Assistant corporation counsel said, " Both Florida and N.Y.C are prepared to commit all of the personnel and resources necessary to adequately manage this litigation".

IRS: Retirement Plans Could Be Invalid If Not Updated (January 29, 2002)
The IRS warned that retirement plans could become invalid if employers don’t update their retirement plan. For most retirement plans the deadline in Feb 28, thousands of plans could become illegal if not modified.