April 22, 2013
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I urge you to cosponsor the resolution to be introduced by Senators Tom Harkin, Sheldon Whitehouse and Bernie Sanders which expresses the sense of the Congress that the “chained” Consumer Price Index (CPI) not be used to calculate cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security benefits or benefits for disabled veterans and their survivors. We commend Senators Harkin, Whitehouse and Sanders for proposing this resolution.
Social Security is the most successful income security program in our nation’s history. It is an important economic lifeline for millions of America’s most vulnerable people, including seniors and persons with disabilities, as well as their spouses, dependents and survivors. Social Security has not contributed to the federal debt, and therefore does not belong in a conversation about deficit reduction.
The chained CPI would reduce projected benefits for the oldest and most vulnerable Americans, often older women, who would be least able to afford it. The Social Security Administration estimates that application of the chained CPI would result in a decrease of about $130 per year (0.9 percent) in Social Security benefits for a typical 65 year-old, and $1,400 per year (9.2 percent) by the time that senior reaches age 95.
While all beneficiaries will feel the impact of this change, its effect will be greatest on those who draw benefits at earlier ages (e.g., military retirees, disabled veterans and workers) and those who live the longest. These are often women who have outlived their other sources of income, have depleted their assets and rely on Social Security as their only lifeline to financial stability.
For these reasons, we urge you to oppose the chained CPI proposal by cosponsoring the Harkin- Whitehouse-Sanders resolution.
President and CEO