Sheldon’s Stance on Social Security:
I believe that our Social Security system can continue to serve as the bedrock of retirement security, and am working to ensure the solvency of the system.
Even if we made no changes to Social Security today, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has found that Social Security will remain solvent for more than a quarter of a century.
Even better, if we follow the recommendations of the President to apply the Social Security payroll tax contributions to income over $250,000, the program will remain solvent indefinitely.
With Social Security being so strong, it is clear that efforts to privatize it – and gamble a lifetime of senior investments on Wall Street prospectors– would be an unjustified and costly mistake.
As of 2009, Rhode Islanders on Social Security received an average monthly payment of about $1,144.  That’s $13,724 a year to keep the heat on, pay for prescriptions, cover the mortgage, and provide food.  As you can imagine, some of our seniors are struggling to get by on this income alone and are deeply concerned with rising costs.
Unfortunately, 2009 marked the first time in 75 years that seniors did not see a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).   This change was not based on what seniors can afford, but based on an outdated inflation calculation.
That is why I have co-sponsored the Emergency Senior Citizens Relief act in both 2009 and 2010 to provide special $250 payments to help compensate for the lack of an automatic COLA.  In the long run, I believe we need a more accurate inflation formula, one that takes the try costs of housing, medication, and food into account.
Following a lifetime of hard work and investment in Social Security, retirement should be a time of enjoyment for our seniors, not economic anxiety.
Sheldon’s Work on Social Security for Rhode Island:
Social Security is an issue that has a profound impact on our seniors, but also the economy of Rhode Island. Social Security benefits provide a great boost to a local economy.  Why?  Because Social Security recipients often spend this money locally on food and medical care, rather than put the money into saving accounts.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, it does highlight a few of the things I’ve been proud to do on behalf of Rhode Islanders and Social Security:

  • Helped secure a one-time payment of $250 for seniors and disabled individuals receiving Social Security or SSI as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Those payments were distributed in May 2009.
  • In 2008, I worked with my colleagues to secure a $300 rebate for seniors and SSDI recipients in that year’s Economic Stimulus Act.
  • Co-sponsored the Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act, which would have helped seniors who did not receive a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in 2009 and 2010.  Unfortunately, 2009 marked the first year that seniors did not see a cost of living adjustment.
  • I am a founding member of the Senate’s Defend Social Security Caucus.  This group is standing strong to protect seniors and Social Security from Wall Street’s privatization efforts.

Casework: How Our Office Can Help You

Helping ensure that federal government agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, are responsive to Rhode Islanders’ needs is one of my most important jobs as your United States Senator.
My staff and I can often help you answer questions, find resources, or resolve problems you may have with Social Security. We are proud to work on your behalf.
Please click here to visit the casework page of our website.
You can also reach us by phone at 401-453-5294.