Social Security MattersKENTUCKY (8/8/18) — In this week’s column, “Ask Rusty” addresses “notch babies”.

Dear Rusty: My husband was a "notch baby" and has been collecting less Social Security than his brother-in-law who had a lesser profession. Is there any hope for correcting this? Signed: Wondering and Hopeful

Dear Hopeful: Well, the whole “notch baby” controversy has been simmering for a lot of years now and has even gotten the attention of Congress several times in past years. The term “Notch Babies” refers to Social Security beneficiaries who were born between 1917 and 1921 because they, as well as those born earlier, were caught up in an error made by the Social Security Administration when transitioning to automatic Cost of Living Adjustments in 1972. 

An error in the new COLA computation, which resulted in beneficiaries being overpaid wasn’t discovered until a few years afterwards. In an effort to resolve the issue Congress ruled that for those born before 1917 the higher (incorrect) COLA formula would continue to be used, and COLA for those born in 1917 or later would use a new corrected COLA formula. 

But bowing to public pressure, Congress later created a transition period which said that anyone born between 1917 and 1921 would get COLA according to a special formula which was not as generous as the incorrect one used for those born before 1917, but more generous than the corrected formula used for those born after 1921. And those born between 1917 and 1921 are referred to as “notch babies” (some lobbying groups have even expanded the term to include those born up to 1926). 

Nevertheless, most “notch babies” feel they are losing out because they didn’t get benefits using the old incorrect COLA formula as did those born prior to 1917, even though the formula used to compute their COLA is more generous than for those born after 1921. 

Obviously, your husband falls into the “notch baby” category while his brother-in-law apparently benefited from the higher (incorrect) formula used for those born prior to 1917, presumably accounting for the disparity in their benefits. 

As for any “hope for correcting this,” Congress’ view over the years has consistently been that there is really nothing to correct because those born between 1917 and 1921 are/were receiving COLA increases using the special formula which is more generous than for those born after 1921. 

Currently H.R. 867 – The Notch Fairness Act of 2017 has eight cosponsors and has been referred to the Subcommittee on Social Security, but little progress has been made in today’s political climate focused more on reducing program costs than on raising them. So, I’d have to say that I doubt if legislation addressing this issue will be successful anytime soon.

This article is intended for information purposes only and does not represent legal or financial guidance. It presents the opinions and interpretations of the AMAC Foundation’s staff, trained and accredited by the National Social Security Association. NSSA and the AMAC Foundation and its staff are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other governmental entity. To submit a question, visit our website (amacfoundation.org/programs/social-security-advisory) or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SurfKY News

Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

sitelogosm© Copyright 2008 - 2018 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission.

Click here to subscribe to receive daily updates by email.

Most Read This Week

Oct 17, 2018 42402

UPDATE: Dawson Springs Man Claims $1 Million Lotto Prize

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
Oct 16, 2018 16678

Police Chase Ends after Vehicle Sinks in Pond River

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
Oct 16, 2018 8795

Ohio County Real Estate Transfers Listed - Oct. 16

by Janice Stone
Oct 17, 2018 8529

UPDATE: 2 Drivers Injured in I-69 Crash near Mortons Gap

by Ladonna Kay Lee
Oct 15, 2018 7896

MPD: Tip ties Greenville Woman to 2-year Murder Investigation

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

Oct 17, 2018 42402

UPDATE: Dawson Springs Man Claims $1 Million Lotto Prize

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Weather brought to you by

59°
15°
°F | °C
Partly Cloudy
Humidity: 39%
Thu
Partly Cloudy
42 | 60
5 | 15
Fri
Showers
39 | 65
3 | 18
Sat
Scattered Showers
44 | 64
6 | 17
Sun
Sunny
35 | 53
1 | 11

Stories Trending Today

shooting investigation 300
Oct 18, 2018 6390

Man Succumbs to Gunshot Wound

by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
moving wall
Oct 18, 2018 1223

REGIONAL NEWS: Vietnam Moving Wall Headed through Western Kentucky

by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
HCSO logo
Oct 18, 2018 1117

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports — Oct. 18, 2018

by SurfKY News
island
Oct 18, 2018 712

Traffic Accident Occurs Near Island on U.S. 431

by Paul Moore

Market Report

Market Report brought to you by