After Medicare deductions, Marty Alvarado has about $950 left in her monthly Social Security check. The Alliance for Retired Americans members from Dallas told a Capitol Hill Hands Off Social Security summit of Alliance members, lawmakers, senior activists and Social Security advocates:
As you might imagine that’s very difficult to live on. I cannot afford to lose any of my benefits due to the chained CPI cut in benefits. This is especially important to me as a woman. Women represent 57% of all Social Security beneficiaries. Chained CPI would hit female beneficiaries especially hard because we tend to live longer.
Click here to see full coverage of the summit by WeActRadio DC.
Chained CPI would change the way cost-of-living adjustments are calculated for Social Security, veterans and other federal benefits. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told the summit that Republicans and some Democrats have described chained CPI as “a minor tweak.” But, he said:
Let’s be clear: for millions of seniors living on fixed incomes and disabled veterans, the chained CPI is not a minor tweak. It is a significant benefit cut that will make it harder for permanently disabled veterans and the elderly to make ends meet.
Alliance Executive Director Ed Coyle said that a study by the group Social Security Works shows that under this proposal someone retiring at age 65 would lose nearly $5,000 in benefits by age 75. By age 85, they would lose almost $10,000. If they lived until 95, they would lose more than $15,000.
The average Social Security check is only slightly more than $1,000 per month. For many retirees, this is their only source of income. I can’t imagine how seniors could get by on anything less.
Alliance members also spoke out against proposed changes to Medicare, including raising the eligibility age. Jody Weinrich is a 63-year-old retired garment worker who receives about $800 a month in Social Security and $105 from a small pension.
Every month, I spend $500 on health insurance—well over half of my monthly income. I barely have any money to cover my other expenses. The biggest thing that gives me hope is that in a year and a half, when I turn 65, I will finally be eligible for Medicare. For me and the millions of other Americans in similar circumstances, raising the Medicare age to 67 would be a disaster.
After the summit, Alliance members visited lawmakers’ offices and urged them to support Senate and House resolutions to protect Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans' benefits.