Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (Both D-MD) called the announcement of a 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits for 2012 good news for Maryland seniors. The first increase since 2009, average benefits are expected to rise by approximately $516 per year. An estimated 611,149 Marylanders over 65 years of age receive Social Security, according to the U.S. Social Security Office of Retirement and Disability Policy.
“Social Security is a more than a safety net for so many seniors; it is their primary source of income. So the last two years, as our economy sputtered, the lack of a cost-of-living increase in benefits left many with greater worries about how to pay for food, medicine, and housing,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Committee. “According to the Economic Policy Institute, Social Security benefits make up more than 80 percent of total income for the 40 percent of 65-and-older households with the lowest incomes. Things are not much better for middle-class retirees, who look to Social Security for nearly two-thirds of their income. Our seniors need support and resources that will allow them to live independently in their communities for as long as possible. A modest COLA increase is just one tool to help ease their financial burdens and deal with the real rising costs seniors face.”
“Honor your father and mother isn’t just a good commandment to live by, it’s good policy to govern by,” Senator Mikulski said. “Social Security is our most important program to keep the elderly out of poverty. It is a social contract that we made with them when they signed up for their Social Security card. This increase in Social Security benefits to the millions of our seniors that rely on them reaffirms that social contract and will help them to pay their bills, buy their food and get their prescription drugs.”
For a Maryland statewide and county-by-county breakdown of Social Security beneficiaries and benefits, click here, or see below: