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AARP: Don't cut FL veterans' benefits by $1.24 billion over 10 years as part of Chained CPI budget deal

St. Petersburg, Fla. – As budget negotiations continue in Washington, AARP Florida today released an analysis showing the negative impact one proposal – the so called “chained CPI” -- would have on Florida’s veterans’ compensation and pensions .

The so-called “chained CPI” plan now under discussion in Washington would change the way cost-of-living adjustments are calculated for veterans’ compensation and Social Security, reducing amounts veterans receive every year, and over time cutting benefits the most for the oldest veterans, including those with severe disabilities.  AARP joins more than a dozen veterans’ groups in opposing adoption of the chained CPI, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America and Disabled American Veterans. 

“Florida’s veterans, including my own father, have earned our support and thanks for their service and sacrifices, not cuts to the benefits they have earned and rely on,” said Jeff Johnson, AARP’s Florida state director.  “Adopting the chained CPI plan would be a serious financial blow to the financial security of Florida veterans, and we urge Floridians to let their members of Congress know that imposing the chained CPI is unacceptable.”

Earlier this year, AARP released an analysis showing that non-veterans living in Florida would lose nearly $8 billion in Social Security benefits under the Chained CPI proposal over 10 years. 

AARP also has prepared a personalized online calculator at www.aarp.org/whatyoulose to help veterans, Social Security recipients and future Social Security beneficiaries to understand exactly how much they would lose if the chained CPI were adopted. 
 
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Florida was home to approximately 1,566,000 veterans in 2011.  Using data from the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, AARP calculates that adoption of the chained CPI would result in Florida’s veterans losing $1.237 billion in benefits over a 10-year period.  Nationally, 23 million disabled veterans and military retirees would see their compensation and benefits cut by $17 billion over that 10-year period.

AARP also has begun to air television advertising nationwide on this issue, urging Americans age 50+ to contact their members of Congress and share their views on future Social Security and  veterans’ benefit cuts that would occur if the chained CPI is adopted.

Under this proposal, benefits for retired and disabled veterans would shrink by larger amounts every year, hurting those who served our nation more and more as they age and their retirement savings start to run out. 

And our nation’s youngest veterans – especially those who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan -- would face harmful cuts, according to the Congressional Budget Office.  Replacing the current COLA formula with the chained CPI would cause a 30-year-old veteran with severe disabilities to see his or her veterans’ benefits reduced annually by $1,425 at age 45, $2,341 at 55 and $3,231 at 65.

 “Veterans understand sacrifice and the need for fiscal discipline.  But we have made promises to our veterans who’ve sacrificed so much for our nation, and those promises must be kept.  Imposing the chained CPI on Florida’s veterans would break our promise to those who have given so much to our state and nation, and AARP joins with veterans’ groups across the nation in opposing this proposal,” concluded Johnson.

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