AARP: Change in Benefits Pending for Veterans, Seniors
HARRISBURG – A little-known and little-understood proposed change in how certain federal benefits are calculated could impact the bottom lines of seniors, veterans and the disabled in Pennsylvania and across the country. The federal government is considering using a new way to calculate cost-of-living adjustments for veterans’ benefits and Social Security, called “chained CPI” (Consumer Price Index). ?Angela Cortez of AARP explained how it works.?”It assumes that when the cost of something you normally buy goes up, you’ll substitute it with a lower cost item, but that doesn’t really work in this case, because many seniors spend much of their money on basic goods,” she stated.?Senior A.W. Schnellbacher is trying to enjoy his retirement after spending time in the military and as a federal employee. Schnellbacher said the change might make sense on paper, but not when it’s put into practice.?”It affects me on my annuity; it affects me on Social Security; it affects veterans down the way, and it seems like we’re trying to do things on budget, without considering the impacts on people,” he declared.?Angela Cortez said the loss in benefits would add up. ?”It’s a huge hit. For example, changing the cost-of-living adjustment would mean the average senior would lose $2300 over the next 10 years,” she pointed out.?AARP says one in five Pennsylvanians receives Social Security. The group also says the change will impact the oldest of Americans the most, because they will lose more benefits over time, especially women, because they tend to live longer and have lower retirement incomes. ?Supporters of the chained CPI say it will reduce the federal deficit.?