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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: February 21, 2023 03:46 PM
From: Senator Lisa Baker and Sen. Judy Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Aligning state programs with federal Social Security COLAs
One of the effects of the higher-than-normal inflation rate in America has experienced over the last several years, is its trigger of substantial cost-of-living increases for recipients of Social Security.  Administered federally by the Social Security Administration, Social Security is a social insurance program for retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. The intent is for beneficiaries to spend their lives working and paying into Social Security and then become eligible to reap its benefits when they retire or can no longer work due to a disability. The program works by utilizing taxes paid into a trust fund that individuals can tap into once they are eligible.
While the Social Security Income increases are certainly appreciated in tough economic times, it comes with an unfortunate consequence for numerous beneficiaries, especially those financially vulnerable, like our seniors and adults with life-long disabilities, who find themselves pushed above the qualifying income limits for vital, federally-mandated and state-operated benefit programs, such as LIHEAP, Medical Assistance, and SNAP. 

We are introducing legislation requiring the state Department of Human Services to update its program income guidelines to reflect the most recent Federal Poverty Income Guidelines in the event of Social Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) cost of living adjustments (COLA).

Please join us in this effort to ensure that those in need of these entitlement programs continue to receive their eligible benefits.