RPEC Weekly Newsflash, August 18, 2023
As our federal legislators wrap up their summer vacations, they will soon head back to Washington, D.C. to work on a funding bill. Rumor has it that a stalemate may be likely over newly proposed funding bill cuts. These newly proposed cuts would negatively impact many public services due to the lack of adequate funding and slash federal funding levels by almost 30%. If not agreed upon soon, the stalemate could lead to a federal government shutdown.
Although your Social Security and Medicare payments will not be impacted, there is still the possibility of cuts being proposed that could adversely impact these federal earned-benefit programs, along with the likelihood of service delays. Proposed funding bill cuts will also affect public safety, education, and many other needed public services by slashing federal funding headed to states and cities.
Join us in signing onto our letter to your Congressperson, which urges them to oppose any cuts to Social Security and Medicare and avoid a shutdown by passing 2024 federal spending bills. If you have already signed on and sent a letter, thank you for helping and you do not have to do it again.
- Click the above link.
- Click ‘Start Writing’ in the right-hand column.
- Select your prefix (ex. Mr. or Mrs.).
- Select “Government Operations and Politics” as the topic.
- Click ‘Send Letter’.
Protecting Your Email & Avoiding Online Scams Webinar
RPEC is committed to helping our members wherever possible. This includes educating them on ways to protect their email from potential hacking or intrusion and avoiding various scams they may encounter through their email.
We will be hosting a one-hour long educational webinar on Protecting Your Email & Avoiding Online Scams on Friday, September 8th from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm.
You need to register in advance through Zoom using the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvceqprTwoEtco79jvKTngyTZv-En5b-rb. Zoom will confirm your registration and send you a link to the meeting. We will send you a reminder link a day prior to the meeting as well.
We all encounter potential scams through email and seniors tend to be the more vulnerable population targeted by scammers. This webinar will provide you with the tools and knowledge to better secure your email, identify potential scams more efficiently, and reduce your chances of being scammed. We hope you will take an hour and join us!
RPEC Feature on Mission Nonprofit Now Available!
Each month, Thurston Community Media’s (TCMedia) Mission Nonprofit connects with local organizations and agencies that are making positive impacts in our communities. This month, RPEC is the organization featured on Thurston Community Media’s Mission Nonprofit cable television show. RPEC is also featured in this month’s edition of Thurston Talk, a digital community newsletter published by Thurston County.
The recorded show is available on the following mediums: view it on TCMedia’s YouTube channel, listen to it via podcast, and read the transcript in Thurston Talk. Click below to find the links to all these, as well as more information.
Social Security COLA Projections for 2024
Monday, August 14th, was the 88th anniversary of Social Security since being signed into law in 1935. October is quickly approaching and with it will come an official announcement of the Social Security benefit cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for 2024. Following an 8.7% increase in Social Security benefits in January 2023, the next COLA is projected to be 3%, a reflection of the recent decrease in inflation. The Social Security benefit increase is calculated so that it exactly offsets consumer price increases caused by inflation.
A projected decrease from 8.7% to 3% in the Social Security COLA is indicative of inflation getting under control, which is especially significant to those on a fixed income. The 8.7% increase took effect in January 2023 after inflation carrying over from 2022 was on a decline and it has remained well below the COLA level. Despite the predicted increase being quite smaller than the 2023 COLA, if inflation continues a downward trend and drops below 3%, the projected 3% increase in 2024 will have a similar positive effect to that of the 8.7% increase for 2023.
Social Security is an ever-adapting social program that serves as a safeguard for many Americans, including the members of RPEC. RPEC vows to continue to advocate and organize to expand and protect Social Security, a program the American people have paid into with the promise that those funds would support them when they are of age.
National Immunization Awareness Month
Each year in August, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and other partners highlight the importance of staying up to date on vaccinations at all stages of life.
Adult vaccines recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices are now available under Medicare prescription drug plans (Part D) at no cost to you. These include vaccinations for whooping cough, shingles, tetanus, and more. Speak to your doctor about which recommended vaccines are right for you to protect yourself from severe illnesses and diseases.
For more information about savings with the new prescription drug law that went into effect in January 2023, and to find other resources, visit https://www.medicare.gov/about-us/prescription-drug-law or https://www.cms.gov/inflation-reduction-act-and-medicare/resources-0. You can also reach out to Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) to speak with highly trained, unbiased volunteers who can help you navigate Medicare by calling 1-800-562-6900 or 1-360-586-0241.
Exciting News for Medicare Beneficiaries!
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just unveiled some great news regarding Medicare Part D coverage. In 2024, the average total monthly premium for Medicare Part D is estimated to be around $55.50, marking a 1.8% reduction from last year’s $56.49.
This drop in premiums is thanks to improvements in the Part D program through the Inflation Reduction Act, which is designed to bring down costs and provide more affordable options for people with Medicare. It’s all about helping you save more on your prescription drug coverage.
Medicare Open Enrollment is October 15th through December 7th, 2023.
CMS is releasing the projected average total monthly Part D premium, based on plan bids submitted to them. The Medicare Part D program continues to be a lifeline for over 51 million beneficiaries, covering both brand-name and generic prescription drugs. With CMS constantly analyzing and engaging with stakeholders for further improvements, the future is looking even brighter.
For more information on the upcoming changes and how they might benefit you, check out the weblink below and the Fact Sheet linked at the bottom of that webpage. Stay informed and get ready to make the best choices for your health and well-being!
State Treasurer Hosting Retirement Security Town Halls
State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti is hosting retirement security town halls across the state to raise awareness about challenges that current and future retirees face. These town halls will be an opportunity to share ideas and hear what work is on the horizon that could ensure that all Washingtonians have equitable access to long-term retirement security.
Joining Treasurer Pellicciotti will be guest panelists April Sims, President of the Washington State Labor Council; Aaron Keating, Managing Director at Economic Opportunity Institute; and Cathleen MacCaul, Advocacy Director at AARP Washington. Members of the public are invited to attend and participate in the conversations.
Two more left – Everett, August 22nd and Steilacoom, August 28th.
In support of our retiree partner organizations, we will pass along information about events, conferences, workshops, etc. Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA) will host a webinar on September 13th at 5 p.m. entitled “We Can Reclaim Medicare from Greedy Profiteers.” Contact email@example.com for more details.
Please refer to our calendar page for more information about each event, including links to Zoom meetings, if available.
- August 21 – National Senior Citizens Day
- August 21 – Senior Lobby (10:00 am)
- August 22 – Executive Board Meeting (10:45 am)
- August 25 – Council Office Team Retreat (8:30 am-1:30 pm)
- Sept. 1 – Monthly Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
- Sept. 4 – Council Office Closed, Labor Day
- Sept. 8 – Political Action Committee Meeting (10:00 am)
- Sept. 8 – Protecting Your Email & Avoiding Online Scams Webinar (1:00 pm)
- Sept. 12 – WSARA Convention, Federal Way
- Sept. 13 – PSARA webinar, “We Can Reclaim Medicare from Greedy Profiteers” (5:00 pm)
- Sept. 14 – Healthcare Workgroup Meeting (3:30 pm)
- Sept. 15 – Monthly Leadership Call (1:00 pm)
- Sept. 18 – Senior Lobby (10:00 am)
- Sept. 19 – Select Committee on Pension Policy Meeting (10:00 am)
- Sept. 22 – Pension Policy Workgroup Meeting (10:00 am)