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Notch octogenarians should beware of Social Security scam.



Byline: Albert B. Southwick

COLUMN: Albert B. Southwick

A fancy piece of mail arrived the other day. It included an elaborate document - "The TSCL TSCL The Senior Citizens' League (Alexandria, VA)
TSCL TREA Senior Citizens League (lobbying group, Alexandria, Virginia)
TsCl toluene-2-sulfonyl chloride
TSCL Target System Control Library
 National Notch Register." It certified that I, Mr. Albert Southwick, am a participant in the campaign for "Notch Fairness" and am so recorded on the "National Notch Register."

The accompanying letter went on to say that I and thousands of other "Notch victims" have been ignored by an indifferent Congress and cheated out of our proper Social Security pension payments for no other reason than that we were born between 1917 and 1921. The solution is a resolution in Congress to give us oldsters a $5,000 lump-sum payment. To that end, we are urged to send money to something called the Senior Citizens League so that it can put pressure on the politicians to pass the resolution and then the bill, thereby giving of us each a check for $5,000, thus rectifying a terrible injustice.

This, no doubt, is gobbledegook gob·ble·dy·gook also gob·ble·de·gook  
n.
Unclear, wordy jargon.



[Imitative of the gobbling of a turkey.
 to most readers. Unless you are at least 87 years old, you probably have never heard of the Notch. It first became an issue in 1977, when Congress adjusted the cost-of-living payments for Social Security recipients. Five years before, in 1972, the actuaries had made an error that threatened the solvency of the Social Security trust fund. Annual increases in COLA payments were much too high to be sustainable. Five years later, Congress corrected the error, beginning with those retirees born after 1917. A small number of really old folks continued to receive the larger COLA adjustments.

Congress made 1917 the cutoff date probably because it figured that the older retirees were too few to make much actuarial difference. But it opened the door to the demagogues. An organization miscalled the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare came up with the case of two sisters, one born in 1916 and the other in 1917. According to according to
prep.
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

3.
 the NCPSSM NCPSSM National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (Washington, DC) , the revised COLA formula meant that the older sister was getting $2,208 more in retirement payments than her younger sister was. From that isolated case and others like it was built a movement for "justice." In the next several years, the Years, The

the seven decades of Eleanor Pargiter’s life. [Br. Lit.: Benét, 1109]

See : Time
 NCPSSM raised many thousands of dollars from gullible oldsters. Although the General Accounting Office pointed out in a careful study that the Notch campaign could jeopardize "the short-run financial condition of the system and the ability to finance the coming retirement of the Baby Boom generation," the movement gained national attention and even support from members of Congress, including Richard Lugar and Tom Harkin Thomas Richard "Tom" Harkin (born November 19, 1939) is a Democratic Senator from Iowa, serving in his fourth senate term. A Democrat, he is currently Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. Early life
Harkin was born in Cumming, Iowa.
. But growing problems of the Social Security trust fund put the movement on the back burner Noun 1. back burner - reduced priority; "dozens of cases were put on the back burner"
precedence, precedency, priority - status established in order of importance or urgency; "...
.

Now it's back, with even more questionable claims. The new mailing from the Senior Citizens League states flatly, "If you are like the average Notch victim, you've received about $2,200 less per year in Social Security income than if you were born before or after the Notch years."

This is a new twist. Originally, our 1917-1921 group was seen as being unfairly treated in comparison to the older retirees - those born before 1917. Now we supposedly are also losing out to those born after 1921 as well. That is absurd. Our COLAs are the same as those of anyone else in the system, except for a few people in their nineties. Individual retirement payments will always vary, depending on a number of factors such as year of birth, age at retirement, level of lifetime earnings, level of inflation, etc. Those variations are raw meat for those want to demagogue dem·a·gogue also dem·a·gog  
n.
1. A leader who obtains power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace.

2. A leader of the common people in ancient times.

tr.v.
 the issue. Any attempt to point out the facts is called an "outrageous distortion of the truth."

In 1994 a special commission was set up to study the Notch issue. It found that the claim of injustice has no merit and that Congress acted responsibly when it adjusted the COLA rates in 1977. AARP AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan national organization dedicated to "enriching the experience of aging"; membership is open to people age 50 or older. Founded in 1958 by Ethel Percy Andrus as American Association of Retired Persons, AARP now has over 30 million , the American Association of Retired Persons American Association of Retired Persons: see AARP. , has also examined the controversy in detail. The AARP traditionally speaks and campaigns for the elderly but, after analyzing the charges and claims, it concluded that the Notch is largely imaginary and that "benefits paid to those in the `Notch' years are equitable, and no new legislation is needed."

AARP also cautions anyone to be "as informed as possible" before donating money to any organization purporting to be working on the Notch issue. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently
, watch out for empty promises that cost you money.

I want to endorse that as strongly as possible. I have no idea how much money gullible seniors have donated to the various Notch groups over the years, but I bet it is a lot. The promise of a $5,000 lump sum Lump sum

A large one-time payment of money.
 payment is enticing, but empty promises should not be allowed to obscure the facts.

The Social Security system will have plenty of challenges in the years ahead as the Baby Boomer generation goes into retirement. It does not need to be burdened by a group of misled octogenarians seeking payment for a nonexistent non·ex·is·tence  
n.
1. The condition of not existing.

2. Something that does not exist.



non
 flaw in the system.

Albert B. Southwick's column appears regularly in the Telegram & Gazette.
COPYRIGHT 2008 Worcester Telegram & Gazette
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
Tsadjatko
Tsad Jatko (Member): My mother is 93 years old 3/18/2010 5:03 PM
and she has been getting these solicitations since the 60's Why doesn't somebody go on Fox news and reveal it's a scam?
elisah
Elisabeth Ham (Member): Natioal Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare 5/13/2010 9:42 AM
I received a petition and request for donation ("please don't sign petiton if you don't agree to join memebership" and include donation). It warns against cuts to Social Security and Medicare and is to be addressed to Obama administration. It does not explain what those cuts include--the only cut to Medicare in the Health Care Reform is to stop giving subsidies from our limited Medicare fund to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage that offers a negligle benefit to members and fattens insurance bottome line (a reason for the CEO of Health Point made 1.2 million bonus last year?) This also happened in the last administration after it became apparent that Social Security was not going to be privatized. Since the Supreme Court has given carte blance to corporations to spend unlimited funds on issue, I question this whole movement as a scam to scare seniors and prevent those subsidies from going back into the original Medicare fund.

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Title Annotation:COMMENTARY
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 17, 2008
Words:853
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