Our elected officials in Washington are considering adopting "chained CPI" as part of a budget deal, and AARP has created a new online calculator to show Americans how much they would lose if our legislators changed the way the cost-of-living adjustment is calculated for Social Security and veteran's benefits. By entering their age and estimated annual benefit, users can see how much less they would receive over the years if chained CPI is adopted.
Chained CPI stands for consumer price index, a formula that looks at how the prices of items we need (food, for example) change over time. It’s used to make cost-of-living adjustments in programs such as social security, veteran’s benefits, and food stamps. Cost-of-living adjustments would be lower with the chained CPI than with the regular CPI.
Social Security benefits are highly important for Delawareans. The numbers speak for themselves. 92.5 percent of Delaware seniors, or 119,800, received Social Security in 2010. The average annual benefit was only $14,600. What’s more, Social Security accounted for 57.4 percent of the typical older Delawareans’ own income. Delawareans use their benefits to buy food, prescription medications, and other necessities.
"The greatest impact of the chained CPI would fall on the oldest and those who can least afford it," said Cristina Martin Firvida, an AARP expert on the issue. "It is the only proposed change to Social Security that would cut the benefits of current seniors as well as future generation."
Try the chained CPI calculator to help you see how your benefits would be affected at www.aarp.org/whatyoulose. Sign a petition telling your elected officials you are against chained CPI and want to keep the benefits you've earned.