Senate Rejects $250 Social Security Boost

Seniors will not receive a Social Security increase this year

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Retirees will not receive an extra $250 Social Security payment this year. The Senate voted 47 to 50 yesterday against sending seniors an additional one-time check.

President Obama called for the $250 payment for seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities in October shortly after the Social Security Administration announced that seniors would not receive a cost-of-living increase in 2010. This is the first year without a boost in Social Security payments since automatic increases for inflation began in 1975.

[See Job Search Grows Cold, Creating Reluctant Retirees.]

Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent, and nine Democrat cosponsors introduced the proposal yesterday as an amendment to legislation extending unemployment benefits through the end of the year. The measure was similar to a provision of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act that distributed one-time $250 economic recovery payments to seniors in May 2009 at a cost of $13.7 billion.

12 Democrats and one independent joined 37 Republicans in defeating the amendment. One Republican and one independent sided with 45 Democrats in supporting the extra payment. Three Republicans did not vote.

[See 10 Reasons You Shouldn't Retire.]

Social Security payments are tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, which did not increase between the third quarter of 2008 and 2009. Existing Social Security recipients will receive the same amount this year as they did in 2009.