COLAs Overpay Seniors, Must Be Slashed! Deficit Cutters Say

COLAs Overpay Seniors, Must Be Slashed! Deficit Cutters Say

Economists are saying that cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) overpay seniors and that recipients don't need so much money to maintain their standard of living.  Cuts to annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) are a key provision of the deficit reduction plans on Capitol Hill, and TSCL is fighting the plans that would cut the benefits of more than 60 million beneficiaries.

The proposal calls for switching to a more slowly-growing consumer price index (CPI), known as the “chained” CPI, to calculate annual COLAs.  Chaining is an apt name for it because that’s what it would do to benefits — chain them down.

Do COLAs overpay seniors?  Ask TSCL Chairman, Larry Hyland.  "The idea is hogwash," he says. "There’s simply no evidence that the CPI has overpaid the people who depend on those COLAs to protect the buying power of their benefits.  The Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) that surveys the market basket more typical of the majority of Social Security recipients, has shown a significantly greater rise over the CPI used to calculate COLAs through 2012.  The CPI-E would provide a more accurate, and adequate COLA, one more in line with the costs experienced by seniors," Hyland says.

In fact, according to TSCL’s annual survey of senior costs, Social Security benefits have lost more than one-third of their buying power since 2000 because COLAs underpay recipients.  TSCL supports using the CPI-E to determine COLAs that better take into account the spending patterns of older people.  For well over a decade, TSCL has lobbied Congress to make the COLA more fair and accurate.  TSCL is mobilizing seniors nationwide to contact Members of Congress.

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