Will You Get an Insurance Subsidy? How Much?

By Julie Appleby, Senior Correspondent, Kaiser Health News If you buy your own health insurance, you’ve no doubt heard that subsidies will be available next year to help pay the premiums. But will you get a subsidy and how much? A report from researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation provides some insight. Based on their analysis, about 48 percent of adults currently purchasing coverage for themselves will be eligible for subsidies next year – and those subsidies will average $5,548 …

Social Security: Still Lifting Many Older Americans Out of Poverty

In the early 1930s, before Social Security was created, many older Americans were destitute or depended on help from family and friends for basic needs like food and shelter. Today, Social Security is the nation’s single most important anti-poverty tool – lifting about 21.4 million people of all ages out of poverty. Social Security lifts about 35 percent of older Americans (almost 14.5 million) out of poverty by providing a regular, guaranteed retirement income. Thanks to Social Security, only about …

Is Poverty Among Older Americans Undercounted?

Poverty levels are much higher for older Americans when you factor in how much they need to spend on health care, the Census Bureau has found. While 9 percent or so of all Americans 65 and older were below the official poverty threshold in 2011 ($10,788 for an individual), 15 percent were below an alternative threshold that takes into account spending on health care. The alternative measure also takes into account variations in the cost of living, taxes, whether a …

Retirement Crisis: Are We There Yet?

It seems like you can’t open up a newspaper (or twitter feed) without reading about the impending “retirement crisis.”  The word crisis, used to describe so many things, may get the public’s attention, but is it accurate?   Many retirees today struggle to make ends meet and others face dire situations triggered by job loss or unexpected health expenses.  But the prospect of a broader retirement crisis depends on your frame of reference. Because of the protections Social Security provides, …

Why Inflation Matters for Social Security

One of Social Security’s great strengths is that it offers meaningful protection against inflation. Each year, the program considers how prices are rising [as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers]. If prices go up, the Social Security benefits people have earned tend to be adjusted as well. For a typical household, this protection is huge – a point I tried to emphasize in my book, “Social Security for Dummies.” It helps people keep …

Digging Deeper on Changes to the Social Security COLA

No one with any common sense wants to see our politicians take us over the fiscal cliff. And I think most people with common sense also realize that Social Security, and the tougher issue of Medicare, are worth thoughtful debate and discussion so these vital programs can be put on stronger footing for future generations. However, when budget cutters take aim at today’s Social Security recipients, it’s time to ask questions and dig deeper into the fine print. A proposal …