Board endorses petition for Social Security pay increase

PETERBOROUGH — Select Board members have unanimously endorsed a resolution calling on Congress to increase Social Security payments immediately.

The petition is sponsored by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, an organization founded in 1982 by James Roosevelt, the son of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to advocate for older Americans.

Peterborough resident Kath Allen presented the proclamation to the Select Board on June 3 and asked for their support.

“We’re really concerned about the future of Social Security,” Allen said. “There are a lot of people out there who are struggling. I pay 30 percent of my check for insurance.”

Allen said high earners are not required to make contributions to Social Security for wages about a certain amount.

“They only pay in on some of their income, while those who can least afford it are paying on 100 percent,” Allen said. She also noted that at times, the Social Security wage base was not raised, while the cost of living for seniors relied on Social Security checks has steadily increased.

In 2009, the Social Security wage base was $106,800, according to the Social Security Administration website. That amount remained the same in 2010 and 2011; then rose over the next three years. The current wage base for 2014 is $117,000.

The resolution states that Social Security cost of living allowances have increased just over 1 percent over the past five years, and that “our economic debate should include review of provisions which boost Social Security benefits, adopt the more accurate consumer price index for the elderly (CPI-E) and increase the minimum benefit formula. This benefit improvement could be paid for by lifting the payroll wage cap.”

The resolution concludes: “Be it resolved: Congress should boost Social Security now to protect the economic security of millions of American families.”

Barbara Miller, who was elected as Select Board chair by fellow members Liz Thomas and Tyler Ward earlier in the meeting, asked Allen how much of a boost petition supporters were seeking.

“We’re trying to get about a $70 a month increase,” Allen replied.

Thomas said she receives a Social Security check and sometimes feels a bit guilty about it.

“You shouldn’t,” Allen said. “It’s an earned benefit. It’s not an entitlement.”

The board voted unanimously to support the petition and each of them signed Allen’s copy of the proclamation.

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