Social Security benefits may increase in 2016

Posted at 7:00 PM, Mar 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-09 09:03:54-05

Social Security and Veteran's benefits are not being increased this year, which ultimately adds pressure on recipients who count on that income to survive. But a new bill sponsored by a Wisconsin Senator could change that by plugging some needed funding into those decreasing benefits.

Senator Tammy Baldwin's bill is called The Save Benefits Act. Its goal is to immediately put about 600 extra dollars into retired folks, veterans and disabled recipient’s benefit funds. And for those on fixed incomes the bill is said to potentially make a big difference.

At The Aging and Disability Resource Center of Green Bay Veterans and seniors keep a close eye on their benefits.

"Like hawks, they are very aware," says Ashley Lecker an Elder Benefit Specialist at the Aging and Disability Resource Center in Green Bay.

And in a year like 2016 when benefits weren't increased, her clients notice even more.

"Seniors deciding whether they should eat or take medications. I think sometimes people don't realize how true it is," adds Lecker.

About 30 percent of seniors in Wisconsin rely solely on Social Security to make ends meet. That's why Senator Tammy Baldwin says this bill is necessary.

"This is a serious issue for many in our communities our neighbors," says Senator Baldwin.

She would like to see the average Social Security pay out increase by about 600 dollars, or nearly 4-percent doled out in a lump sum. The number of four percent was established because she and supporters would like to end tax subsidies for million dollar corporate bonuses and in turn give a break to those who could also use the extra cash.  

"Last year the average CEO at the top 350 companies received nearly 4 percent raises. So fair is fair," adds Senator Baldwin.

And while 800-thousand petition signing Americans have thus far supported the move, Senators like Tammy Baldwin still have to convince Congress.

Senator Baldwin will present the petition to Congress on Wednesday in hopes that they will take it up for a vote. Wisconsin’s Republican Senator Ron Johnson did not return our calls for comment as of 6pm Tuesday.