Obama's Stealth Stimulus: $250 Checks to Seniors

With social security stagnant, Obama proposes payment to elderly
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2009 8:12 AM CDT
Trays of printed social security checks wait to be mailed from the US Treasury's Financial Management services facility in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower, File)
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(Newser) – Seniors won’t be getting a boost in their Social Security benefits this January, but President Obama tried to head off that announcement yesterday by encouraging Congress to give them all a one-time $250 check. The administration sees these payments, which would cost the government about $13 billion, as another way to pump money into the economy without exposing itself to the criticism that would accompany a second major stimulus bill.

The White House is looking into a number of such measures, hoping especially to help those who haven’t yet felt the recovery. Several legislators were already working on proposals to compensate Social Security recipients, who, because inflation has been non-existent, aren’t getting a cost-of-living increase for the first time in 30 years. Bills proposed last month in the House and Senate call for extra Social Security payroll taxes on wealthy Americans who make between $250,000 and $359,000 to cover the payments.