We received the following information as a comment from a Social Security recipient and pass it along, as is, for your consideration.
John S. Frum
The Town of Milton’s tax rate has been increasing steadily for over 10 years now at about 5% per year. Has your income increased that amount? One part of the population that definitely has not seen increases anywhere near that is the town’s senior citizens that are on Social Security.
The average Social Security benefit (SSI) was $1,413.37 per month in June 2018. Yes, some get more, but many get less. Often, that is a senior’s only source of income. From that, $134 is automatically deducted each month to pay for Medicare Part B insurance. Now let’s look at SSI yearly increases. OOPS, what increases?? Seniors on SSI do not get a cost of living increase every year. Over the past 10 years since 2009 there were 3 years when no increase was given, one year the increase was only 0.3%, four years showed increases of just 1.5-2.0% The other 2 years were 2.8% and 3.6%. The greatest increase of 3.6% was back in 2011. Think about Milton’s tax increases during those same years averaging 5% per year.
If you are employed and receive medical insurance from your employer, you might think seniors have quite the racket at $134/month. Believe me they don’t!! Medicare does cover most in-patient (overnight hospitalization) services at a 100% after a small deductible. Out-patient services are a different story – only covered at 80%. Out-patient services include your doctor visits, lab work, X-rays, MRI’s and CT scans; day surgery procedures (many surgeries now are done in a Day Surgery Center that previously would have been done an in-patient setting); chemotherapy and much more. Most services in this day and age are done as an out-patient. To cover that 20% you have to buy a Supplement Policy and they vary in price, but to get good coverage many are well over $200 a month. You also need to get a separate plan for prescription medications as Medicare does not cover them. So you buy a Part D plan and pay a co-pay for each prescription. Another cost that varies with each plan. Dental and eye exams are generally not covered on most plans. That $1,400 a month is dwindling fast.
Just imagine if you are single, a widow or widower, or even a couple, on SSI in Milton and trying to maintain your home and your health these past 10 years and being presented each year with a higher tax bill then the previous year. Each year you set aside a little more to cover this expense, but it seems it is never enough. So you control what you can … less home repairs, adjust your food budget, lower the heat and AC or use fans in summer. Some even limit medications. You control what you can. Like the Town, seniors have little control over insurance costs so they make major cuts elsewhere. The Town needs to do the same – make major cuts that will lower the tax rate by well more than 7.5% and continue to do it for many years. We all make sacrifices and can live with less if needed. If the Town of Milton does not lower the tax rate now, many seniors and younger residents will either lose their homes or move elsewhere. I know that many residents are hurting with such high taxes not just seniors. For the younger population, those under 65, this might help you to understand the situation from the perspective of SSI recipients.