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The Senior Citizens League Warns Chained CPI Affects More Than COLAs, Seniors Would Get Less, Pay More
Date:8/19/2013

Alexandria, VA (PRWEB) August 19, 2013

Most seniors are aware of the impact of the consumer price index (CPI) on their cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). But a widely-debated deficit reduction proposal that would switch to the more slowly-growing “chained” CPI to determine COLAs would have far greater impact than Social Security cuts alone if applied government-wide, warns The Seniors Citizens League (TSCL), one of the nation’s largest nonpartisan seniors groups.

President Obama included the proposal in his fiscal year 2014 budget plan, and it has won support among Congressional proponents on both sides of the aisle. “Chaining the COLA is getting so much attention because it’s a deficit cutter’s magic bullet,’” says Larry Hyland, Chairman of TSCL. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the proposal would cut federal spending by $216 billion and increase revenues by $123.7 billion— reducing the deficit by $339.8 billion in the first ten years alone.

In addition to Social Security, beneficiaries of the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI), military retirement and veterans programs, Rail Road Retirement, civil service and federal workers programs — more than 62.5 million beneficiaries in all— would bear the brunt of the cuts by receiving lower benefits. But in addition to the cut in income, the change would also increase seniors’ costs. Specifically:

  •     Some Medicare coverage would become less generous, such as more slowly-growing Part D coverage amounts.
  •     Fewer low-income seniors would qualify for Medicaid, or such seniors would have to wait longer to qualify. This could include nursing home stays as the income limits rise more slowly.
  •     Fewer low-income seniors would qualify for food stamps, and the food stamp benefit would grow more slowly.
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