On Saturday, June 15, AARP Massachusetts will be at the Massachusetts Women Veterans Conference, from 9-3:30 at UMASS Boston. The free event includes forum panels, exhibitors, door prizes, and more. Admission is free, but registration is required. We hope to see you there – please stop by our table and say hi to our volunteers!
Some in Washington are pushing a budget proposal that would cut benefits for veterans by about $19 billion over the next ten years. Veterans who sacrificed for our country deserve better than harmful cuts to their hard-earned benefits. The “chained CPI” proposal would cut the yearly cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for retired and disabled veterans’ benefits, leaving veterans struggling to keep up with the rising cost of utilities, health care and prescription drugs. It would reduce benefits by larger amounts every year, hurting veterans more as they age and their retirement savings start to run out.
Washington should focus on finding responsible ways to address our nation’s budget challenges, not cutting benefits for America’s veterans who have already sacrificed so much for this great country.
Top 5 reasons why the chained CPI is bad policy for veterans
- It’s a benefit cut. The chained CPI is a significant benefit cut, not some “technical change” as some in Washington would like you to believe. With almost 1.5 million veterans living below the poverty level, every dollar cut has a huge impact.
- Cuts get deeper every year. The chained CPI would cut benefits more with every passing year, costing veterans thousands of dollars over their lifetimes with the highest cuts coming at the time when veterans are older and rely on benefits the most.
- It’s less accurate. The chained CPI assumes that when the cost of something you normally buy goes up, you will substitute a lower-cost item. This theory falls short since many older and disabled veterans spend much of their money on basic goods like health care — items that rise faster than inflation and don’t have lower-cost substitutes.
- Disabled veterans will face deep benefits cuts. Disabled veterans will see a greater share of these cuts since they rely on these benefits starting at a younger age and for longer periods of time than others. Under the chained CPI, a 30-year old veteran with severe disabilities would see his or veterans’ benefit reduced annually by $1,425 at age 45, $2341 at 55 and $3231 at 65.
- Older veterans would be hurt twice. Since Social Security and veterans benefits will both be cut by the chained CPI, older veterans would be hurt twice by the cut. A 65-year old veteran would see his or her veterans’ benefits reduced annually by $1029 and Social Security benefits by $1422 at 95, when benefits are needed the most.
Call 1-800-323-2230 and tell Washington to reject any budget proposal that cuts hard-earned veterans benefits.
Photo courtesy of Veterans Affairs