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Chained CPI and How It May Affect Women

AARP VI wants you to know that some in Washington are pushing a proposal that would reduce the cost-of-living allowance for Social Security, cutting benefits not just for future recipients, but for current ones, as well. It’s called the chained CPI (Consumer Price Index), and it’s a terrible idea – and especially harmful to women, who rely more on Social Security to meet their basic needs.

The chained CPI assumes that when the cost of something goes up, consumers will simply choose an item that costs less.  But seniors spend much of their income on basic necessities like health care, and the burden of health care spending is even greater for women – nearly 19 percent of their income compared with just over 14 percent for men.

Women typically live longer than men, and because the cuts grow over time, they will see their benefits dwindle further with every passing year. Women also often receive less in benefits than men because they earn less, are more likely to work part-time, and are more likely to have gaps in their employment.  Yet retired women rely more heavily on Social Security for nearly all of their income than men do.  It’s little wonder that they are least able to accept cuts to their Social Security benefits.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the chained CPI would cut Social Security benefits by a devastating $127 billion over 10 years.  None of us can afford that.  To further reduce Social Security through the chained CPI would be wrong, and for women, it would be unconscionable.  We need to tell Washington to reject the chained CPI.

To find out what you might lose as a result of the chained CPI, AARP has created a special calculator. See what you will lose at: www.aarp.org/whatyoulose. We invite you to share comments regarding this topic via and others via our Facebook and  Twitter pages!

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