"Democrats are making a pre-election pitch to give Social Security recipients a one-time payment of $250, part of a larger effort to convince senior voters that their party, and not Republicans, will best look out for the 58 million people who get the government retirement and disability benefits." — Associated Press
Ostensibly, this $250 is because there is no cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits for 2011 due to low inflation in prices, but in reality it's not the first time politicians have made an obvious attempt to hand out goodies to a select group right before an election. Coincidentally seniors have the highest rate of voting participation.
Not that this is unique to one side of the aisle. This same issue came up last year when leaders of both parties garnered bi-partisan support for a nearly identical bill. Both then and now, the $250 per recipient adds up to about $14 billion, in which there has been no discussion of how to pay for this outside of adding it on to the growing deficit. So much for "pay as you go" rules.
There are a lot of people who need help in our current economy, but taking from one group to give to another merely encourages the idea that government is there to provide for all of your needs rather than serving to protect all citizens equally.