No benefits increase, but possible one-time payment

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Friday, October 15, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It remains to be seen whether Social Security recipients will get a $250 payment to make up for the lack of a cost-of-living increase.

Flat inflation has brought a second straight year in which there won't be an increase in benefits. Last year, a $250 payment was included in President Barack Obama's stimulus plan. He pushed for a second payment last fall, but a dozen Senate Democrats joined with Republicans to block it.

Obama is again endorsing a $250 payment. House Democratic leaders plan a vote on it next month.

But a spokesman for the top House Republican says if Democrats were serious about it, they would have voted before lawmakers went home to campaign.

And a former Social Security official argues that recipients aren't really being treated unfairly when their benefits are held steady. Andrew Biggs, who's now with the American Enterprise Institute, says there was a nearly 6 percent increase two years ago, based on a temporary spike in energy prices. He says they were paid for an inflation rate that "no longer really existed."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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