This week AARP Pennsylvania volunteers and staff are meeting with nine members of the state’s Congressional delegation in their district offices, urging them to oppose $5.84 billion in cuts to our state’s Social Security COLA and veterans’ benefits that would occur if a measure known as Chained CPI is adopted. The office visits by AARP Pennsylvania volunteers follow weeks of letters, advertisements, petitions, a new Chained CPI Calculator, e-mails and phone calls asking Congress not to cut Social Security benefits and to have a separate conversation about Social Security’s future.
"Pennsylvanians have spoken and they don’t want our members of Congress or the President to make stealth cuts to our Social Security or veterans’ benefits,” said AARP Advocacy Manager Ray Landis. “The Chained CPI is a significant benefit cut that snowballs over time. The adoption of chained CPI would take hundreds of billions of dollars out of the pockets of current and near retirees, working families, veterans and the disabled, as well as the local economies in which they live, in the next ten years alone.
The cut to Social Security’s COLA, currently on the table in debt deal discussions, would take roughly $5.48 billion out of the pockets of Pennsylvania Social Security beneficiaries over the next ten years. Additionally, approximately one million veterans would lose $365 million in benefits over the next ten years. Nationwide, veterans and Social Security benefits would be cut by $129 billion over the same time period.
The volunteers and staff reiterated AARP’s longstanding position against a Social Security COLA Reduction (Chained CPI) as part of any budget deal. AARP last week sent a new letter to Congress and the White House on Social Security. Portions of the letter sent to Congress on the Chained CPI last week are below:
“Today, every dollar of the average Social Security retirement benefit of about $14,800 is absolutely critical to the typical beneficiary. Proposals to reduce Social Security benefits through adoption of the chained consumer price index would immediately hurt current recipients who overwhelmingly depend on that income in retirement. And Social Security will likely be even more important to future generations. Due to stagnating income, escalating personal debt and rising costs for education and health care, workers today are less likely than their parents or grandparents to enjoy the living standards of their working years when they retire. If these trends continue, Social Security will be the main source of income for all but the wealthiest retirees in the future.”
AARP’s efforts against the Chained CPI and for a separate conversation with regard to Social Security will continue when Congress resumes in Washington next week.