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Tell the Notch Babies no

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Posted: 3 pm ET

The "Notch Babies" aren't giving up.

Notch Babies are the approximately 4 million people born between 1917 and 1921 -- ages 85 to 90. In 1972, Congress linked Social Security to the Consumer Price Index to protect it from inflation. Someone made an error in the formula, so benefits were too high. The error was corrected in 1977.

Seniors born between 1910 and 1916 got a windfall -- they got to keep the Social Security increase that resulted from the error. To be fair, Congress gave people living in retirement born between 1917 and 1921 a break, too. Instead of reducing benefits all at once after the calculation was changed, the decrease was prorated over five years. But the people who became known as the Notch Babies weren't happy. They wanted the whole windfall, too.

In 1994, Congress investigated the issue and concluded that Notch Babies didn't get a raw deal and weren't owed anything, but activists won't let the issue die. Currently, legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., and supported by the nonpartisan advocacy group, The Senior Citizens League, proposes compensating every notch baby and those up to five years younger than the original Notch Babies -- born between 1921 and 1926 -- by paying each of them a flat $5,000.

The cost would be about $45 billion.

At a time when we're worried about cutting a huge national deficit and trying to figure out how to keep Social Security solvent for the long haul, this seems like retirement planning folly. Spending that kind of money to compensate people for something that many argue that they didn't deserve to begin with is a cost we can't afford.

Notch Babies, quit your whining.

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17 Comments
Jack
May 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Not everyone born between 1917 & 1921 got a lower benefit because of the change in the formula. If they didn't work after turning 62 they were paid the higher of the old formula or the new formula. Survivor's benefits where the spouse died before the change also weren't affected.

The problem with the formula was that both the benefit & the wage base were increased for inflation, thus someone who continued to work was having their benefit increased by 2x the inflation rate (and sometimes more).

Charlie
May 18, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Ya know, this would be funny if it wasn't so sad. These are the people who fought WW2 for us and at 90+ years of age they are being screwed over badly. My widowed mother on a fixed income in NJ just had her property taxes doubled to fund schools that don't work, is watching the currency inflate at around 15%/year and can't get a COLA from SS. The foreign aid money keeps following out of the country though. Forty-five billion dollars will be what the Libyan misadventure will cost us when it's all said and done and there are twenty million illegals with 400,000 anchor babies per year sucking up way more than that. I could go on here but there is no need. Now I'm sure there are plenty of people worse off than my mother but these are our countrymen. If we can't find the money to take care of our own extreme elderly in a 2.2 trillion dollar economy then we're not a first world country and these people fought for the wrong side!

Charlie
May 18, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Ya know, this would be funny if it wasn't so sad. These are the people who fought WW2 for us and at 90+ years of age they are being screwed over badly. My widowed mother on a fixed income in NJ just had her property taxes doubled, to fund schools that don't work, is watching the currency inflate at around 15%/year and can't get a COLA from SS. The foreign aid money keeps following out of the country though. Fourty-five billion dollars will be what the Libyan misadventure will cost us when it's all said and done and there are twenty million illegals with 400,000 anchor babies per year sucking up way more than that. I could go on here but there is no need. Now I'm sure there are plenty of people worse off than my mother but these are our countrymen. If we can't find the money to take care of our own extreme elderly in a 2.2 trillion dollar economy then we're not a first world country and these people fought for the wrong side!

Barrie
May 16, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Wilbur, your math is right, but you didn't read the article! The proposal was to give $5000 to "every notch baby and those up to five years younger than the original Notch Babies." That's where the extra money would go.

wilber
May 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I am sorry but I do not grasp the math involved. Four million people getting $5000 each is 20 billion (according to the old math).
Who is getting the remaining money from the 45 billion cost?

Maggie
May 11, 2011 at 10:43 pm

If it was due to you, you would feel much different. Yes, I am one of those who was promised to receive what I was due in my Social Security, that I paid into for over 44 years. The Congress has no problem RAISING their pay, every year, yet refuse to give us even a tiny raise and say they won't give us one next year either,three years no raise like they gave themselves. They just lied when it was told to us there was no increase in living expenses and we would not get a raise. Well, I wish I had know where and I would have moved there where there were no raises in the cost of living. Of course, it didn't matter to them, they take what they want, REgardless of our countrys debt. We are not WHINING, just want what we were told we would get. Also what we paid them to keep for our retirement. Instead they saw things they wanted and Stole our money for other things and never paid a cent of it back. Now the Gov't won't accept their IOU'S they put in there and took the money so we are hoping for once they will repay the money they STOLE from our S.S. trust.

Joe from hell
May 11, 2011 at 7:30 pm

get over it.......

Jennifer
May 09, 2011 at 7:59 am

Those ages in the first sentence are off. People born between 1917-1921 are 90-94 years old in 2011, not between 85-90. Are there really 4 million 90-94 year olds in the United States today? If they received those windfall checks, much of the money would surely just go to their heirs.

Beth Mitchell
May 06, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Jennie, I strongly suggest that you read through a bit of history between the US govt. and the American Indians. They continually made deals with the Indians, and then broke their promises on that. Too often, the govt. will make deals with the people, and then go back on their word.

While you are arguing in favor of them going back on their words to the people that are 85 and 90 years old, are you going to be as much in favor of when they go back on their deals/promises/contract with you?

Homeless
May 06, 2011 at 10:45 am

This is the EXACT problem with "entitlement programs"! People get used to receiving a benefit and they have a really difficult time giving it up. The 45 billion these people are looking recoup isn't the end of the expense. How many tax dollars have been/will be spent on going to court over this issue. Not to sound mean but most of the people that are arguing for this will be long gone before there is a resolution. EVERYONE makes mistakes! You are right, QUIT WHINING!!