Alexandria, VA (PRWEB) July 31, 2013
More than 62.6 million people who collect Social Security or benefits from other federal programs aren’t likely to see much growth in their payments next year. According to recent consumer price index (CPI) data through June, cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) will stay pretty flat. Based on inflation growth over the past twelve months, the 2014 COLA will be in the vicinity of 1.7% — the same percentage of increase that seniors received this year. That would raise average monthly benefits of $1,157 by just $19.70.
While that’s better than 2010 and 2011 when inflation was so low that no COLA was paid for two years in a row, it’s unlikely to cover seniors’ real cost increases. According to a survey performed by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups, 89% of respondents reported that the 1.7% COLA in 2013 increased benefits by less than $29 per month. On the other hand, almost the same number, 88%, reported that their total monthly expenses rose by more than $39. The majority of those people, 40%, said that their monthly costs rose by more than $119.
“This discrepancy between COLAs and real costs is squeezing senior households, under the current COLA law,” says TSCL Chairman Larry Hyland. Yet despite the grim statistics, members of both parties are proposing to cut COLA growth further. Congress is considering a proposal to use a more slowly-growing CPI, known as the “chained” consumer price index, to calculate annual COLAs. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that using the chained CPI would reduce Social Security benefits by more than $127 billion over the next ten years alone. The impact would reach far beyond Social Security recipients if applied to other COLA programs. Doing so would cut benefits paid by those programs an additional $37.5 billion.
New data compiled by TSCL illustrates the number of beneficiaries in the nation’s six largest COLA – adjusted federal benefit programs. There is some overlap between programs. “If someone depends on benefits from another federal program in addition to Social Security, their income would be doubly jeopardized by COLA cuts,” Hyland points out.
TSCL is fighting COLA cuts and lobbies for legislation that would ensure a more fair and adequate COLA. “Seniors should contact their Members of Congress and urge their lawmakers to stop the COLA cuts,” Hyland says. To learn more and to find out how much you could lose, try TSCL’s Chained COLA Calculator at http://www.SeniorsLeague.org.
With about 1 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Located just outside Washington, D.C., its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of TREA The Enlisted Association. Please visit http://www.SeniorsLeague.org or call 1-800-333-8725 for more information.