Seymour Seniors Newsy News



The Internal Revenue Service has released new rules for investment income taxes on capital gains and dividends earned by high-income individuals as part of the healthcare reform law.  The 3.8 percent surtax on investment income goes into effect in 2013. however, before making the rules final, the IRS will take public comments and hold hearings in April. The tax applies to a broad range of investment securities ranging from stocks and bonds to commodity securities and specialized derivatives. The tax affects only individuals with more than $200,000 in modified adjusted gross income, and married couples filing jointly with more than $250,000.  The taxes are estimated to raise $317.7 billion over 10 years.  If a taxpayer files as a single individual who makes $180,000 in wage income plus $90,000 from investment income, the modified adjusted gross income would be $270,000.  The 3.8 percent tax applies to the $70,000--$2,660 in surtaxes would then be paid.  




More Americans used food stamps to buy their Thanksgiving dinner last year than ever before.  A person on food stamps has a budget of about $1.25 per meal.  During fiscal year 2012 the U. S. government spent a record $80.4 billion on food stamps, a $2.7 billion increase from FY 2011.




An upcoming study from the National Academy of Public Administration will examine the benefits of partially privatizing the financially ailing U. S. Postal Service, which lost $16 billion dollars in fiscal year 2012 alone.  The study will look into allowing private companies to deliver parcels up until the "last delivery mile."  A Postal Service letter carrier would still be responsible for that last mile, physically delivering letters and packages to their recipients. The study is being underwritten by Connecticut-based firm Pitney Bowes, which already contracts with the Postal Service for portions of its operations, and could stand to benefit from the agency's further privatization.




The Transportation Security Administration agreed to contract with the National Academy of Sciences to probe the health effects of radiation from imaging machines used at airports.  Passengers and some scientific experts have raised questions about the impact of repeated exposure to this radiation.   It was reported a year ago that as many as 100 air travelers each year could get cancer from the machines.  Detailed images they display could also carry privacy risks.




The Social Security Administration (SSA) has suspended mailing paper statements, with the exception to those people age 60 and older, thus saving $70 million a year.   SSA will also begin to close its more than 1,200 field offices 30 minutes earlier each day.  On Wednesdays offices will close at noon.    More than 180,000 people a day visit Social Security offices and nearly 450,000 a day call the agency for assistance.  Both numbers are rising due to increasing claims spurred by the recession, plus the surge of retiring baby boomers.  The agency's budget is about a billion dollars below where it should be. They've lost 9,000 employees over the past three years and expect to lose another 1,000 jobs this year.  Over the past 21 months 46 Social Security offices have been closed, and over 300 contact stations around the country have been lost.  SSA is saying to the public, "We are getting out of the service business, you're on your own."




In September 8,786,049 workers were taking federal disability.  Over the past 45 years the number of American workers taking payments has increased four-fold relative to the number actually working.  That sets a record for the number of Americans on disability.




Salaries and fringe benefits of the Congress far exceed those of the average American.  They earn a salary of $174,000--that's 3.4 times higher than the average full-time American worker who earns $50,875 per year.   The congressional base salary is just the beginning.  If you count the $110,000 in taxpayer-funded fringe benefits members receive (including plush retirement plans, paid time off, and contributions to Social Security and Medicare taxes) they're earning close to $285,000 per year.  This year's wealthy list tilts decisively toward the right side of the aisle with 31 of the 50 richest coming from the GOP.                    




1)    Half of seniors have income under $20,000.

     They spend 17% of that on health care.

2)    There will be 80 million Medicare

      beneficiaries in 2030, up from 40 million in


3)    In 12 years, Medicare will not be able to

cover full hospital costs.

4)    Almost 25% of seniors rely on Social

     Security for 90% or more of family income.

5)    Over 56 million received Social Security

benefits in 2012.

6)    Twenty years is how much longer today's

average 65-year-old will live.