Recently, we’ve met with at least half of NJ’s Congressional delegation and/or their staff to discuss the “chained CPI” proposal that would cut current Social Security beneficiaries’ annual cost of living adjustments (COLA). Many Democrats and Republicans are saying things like, “It wouldn’t be my first choice, but if it is part of a budget deal…” Such statements tell the story. They are unwilling to remove this unfair proposal from negotiations.
Currently, COLA already comes up short in reflecting the cost increases retirees actually experience. Witness the most recent 1.7 percent COLA, or next year’s 1.5 percent projected increase. Chained CPI has the potential to make life that much harder for millions of seniors– especially in high-cost states like NJ. And our recent experience shows, while many legislators are aware of the issue, they won't commit to protecting Social Security beneficiaries from the significant cuts that adoption of the chained CPI would cause.
As Congress works in the coming months to avoid another government shutdown and/or financial default, they should consider people like Carol from Caldwell, who said, “I have been on Social Security since 2000. I am barely holding on and not eating well. I’m age 67 and disabled.”
Her life is one of the millions now on Washington’s negotiating table.
AARP New Jersey State President