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AARP AARP States Advocacy

Chained CPI is NOT the Answer

Chained CPI represents a shattered promise—at a high cost—to seniors, to people with disabilities, and to veterans.  Proponents of chained CPI portray it as a more accurate indicator of the cost-of-living.  It is based on the notion that when the cost of an item goes up, you simply switch to a cheaper alternative.  But, that cost would grow higher year by year, making it increasingly harder to pay for groceries or heat or medicine. 

Supporters say the chained CPI is merely a “tweak” or a “technical correction.”  But what does it really mean to different groups of people?

Retirees:  The chained CPI cut would mean $2.5 billion LESS over 10 years for retirees in Wisconsin. Over 766,000 seniors in Wisconsin who rely on Social Security would see their benefits cut.   Nationally, for the average 65+ retiree, the cumulative benefit cut would be more than $5,000 by age 80 and more than $14,000 by age 90.  With people living longer, it is easy to see how harmful this proposal is. 

Veterans:  The 427,000 veterans in Wisconsin would LOSE $228 million over 10 years.  Older veterans would be hurt twice by chained CPI because it would cut both Social Security and veterans’ benefits.  A 62-year-old veteran would lose $32,000 in total benefits by age 90.  Is that really the way we want to treat the men and women who have sacrificed so much for all of us?

People with Disabilities: Chained CPI would take a heavy toll on people with disabilities. Today 40 percent of people with disabilities are kept out of poverty by Social Security.

Women:  A disproportionate share of the burden of chained CPI would be felt by women.  Women typically live longer and rely more on their Social Security than men.  Among Social Security recipients 85 and older—a group that would pay a heavy price for chained CPI—68 percent are women.

It is time for the supporters of this idea to get acquainted with the real lives of people receiving Social Security.  Chained CPI is NOT the answer to this nation’s budget problems.

Wondering how much your benefits woud be cut by the chained CPI? Find out here and then take two minutes and let your Member of Congress know how the chained CPI affects YOU. 

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