By LaVona McCowan
For the last several years we seniors have been bombarded with huge mailings of paperwork to send to our congressmen and we’ve been told we needed to face the fact that we are “victims” of a Social Security mix-up.
“Notch” victims, a group of senior citizens born 1917 through 1926, supposedly receive up to an estimated $1,000 a year less in their Social Security benefits than people born before that date.
I’ve read various publications and have sent in my requested eligibility paperwork due to the fact that I was born in 1919, one of the years that the mix-up occurred. I have gotten tired of being told that we are “victims.” That’s not a nice name to label us.
In the meantime the people eligible to receive restitution of lost money all these years are gradually dying by the thousands per day.
I have always wanted a lump sum of $5,000 as a one-time payment. This amount would certainly ease the financial crunch for us elderly citizens.
We have lived through one depression, the Second World War, war-time economies, rationing and food stamps.
If the millionaire bank CEOs need to be given funds for their interests, certainly we elderly seniors should be bolstered in life with this lift to our own personal economy.
I’ve often thought I’d like to speak to President Obama to bring us “victims” to his attention and to discuss this issue with him.
LaVona McCowan lives in Rochester.
Editor’s note: McCowan, 90, said she is lucky because her deceased husband worked for the U.S. Forestry Service, and she receives his pension as well as Social Security. Being dependent just on Social Security to support her would be very difficult, said the former nurse.
McCowan said it seems as if the cost of everything keeps going up.
“As long as we have a war going on, taking so much of our economy out of the country, it’s not going to get any better. It used to be that war meant prosperity because everyone was working. But that’s not true, war is bleeding us all,” she said.
The “notch victim” controversy has been discussed for years but is baseless, according a number of reputable sources, and has been used by several groups in the past to solicit money from the elderly.
It is true that a mistake in a formula used to calculate Social Security cost-of-living increases for retirees born 1910-16 resulted in them getting paid more than the system could afford. This was corrected by Congress over a five-year transition plan, which created the so-called “notch” for those born afterward who received less. (The original 1917-21 time frame has been expanded by victim advocates over the years.)
Still, letters and e-mails continue to circulate soliciting signatures to sign up for a notch victim petition of Congress. Experts caution that recipients should never send these groups money in hopes of receiving a settlement.