Poliquin introduces bill to ensure cost-of-living increases for seniors, veterans

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) introduced a bill that he said “will make certain” senior citizens and military veterans are justly compensated with a yearly cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

Many retirees — seniors and veterans — rely on Social Security benefits, which don’t rise annually to match the increasing costs of gas, groceries and other basic items, Poliquin said during a press conference in Bangor on Tuesday.

The Guaranteed COLA Act would ensure these recipients get at least a 1.5-percent increase in Social Security during 2018, Poliquin said.

Additionally, if the COLA formula projects any increase less than 1.5 percent, then the bill would make up the difference by selling unused, dormant federal government buildings and properties, he said.

“My common sense legislation will ensure that our seniors and retired veterans are given the increase in their Social Security benefits that they’ve earned, while also cutting wasteful spending for government buildings that have been lying vacant and unused but continue to cost taxpayers to maintain,” Poliquin said in a statement.

In 2017, Poliquin noted there was a 0.3 percent COLA increase, while in 2016, there was no COLA increase at all for seniors and veterans.