As expected, President Obama’s FY 14 budget includes a proposal to use the “chained Consumer Price Index” – a slower-growing measure of inflation that would cut Social Security benefits by reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments. This is not just a technical change – but a benefit cut that would cause real hardship to the elderly and the poor. The President’s budget recognizes this threat and proposes some protections for vulnerable beneficiaries from the chained CPI – but NWLC analysis shows that this strategy is not adequate.
The budget proposes a bump-up in benefits for long-term beneficiaries, who would experience the worst cuts because the cuts grow deeper every year. In addition, the budget would not apply the chained CPI to needs-based benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income, or use it to determine eligibility for programs like SNAP (Food Stamps).
NWLC’s analysis finds that the small and gradual benefit increases from the bump-ups wouldn’t restore the monthly benefit of the typical single elderly woman to current-law levels—unless she lives to 104. Read more »
No, the threat to women’s Social Security benefits from the chained CPI hasn’t gone away. After the House and Senate finish voting on their separate budget resolutions this week, the real bargaining begins. And the proposal to cut Social Security benefits by using a lower measure of inflation — the chained Consumer Price Index — to reduce annual cost-of-living adjustments is still very much on the table. Indeed, it's part of the President’s announced plan for deficit reduction, if increased revenues are also part of the deal.
The bill would improve Social Security’s minimum benefit — a change that would be especially valuable to women, who are a majority of low-wage workersand are more likely than men to take time out of the paid labor force to raise children. And, it would recognize the value of childrearing work by allowing credits of up to five years toward the minimum benefit when a parent was raising a child under age six. Read more »
What does it mean to live to 100? People turning 100 in 2012 have witnessed a lot of amazing events. Four states have entered the union – New Mexico and Arizona the year they were born and Alaska and Hawaii when they were 47. Humans landed on the moon for the first time when they were 57. And when they were 23 – right when they entered the workforce – Social Security was created. That means many of today’s centenarians paid into Social Security their whole working lives – and have relied on it for many decades as well. This reliance is particularly true for women, who are the majority of elderly Social Security beneficiaries – and especially very old beneficiaries. A new Census report released today (PDF) shows that women were a whopping 82.8 percent of all people who were age 100 and older. Social Security has been there for these women and their families for almost all of their lives.
Whether served as a side dish or not, politics always seems to wiggle its way onto the Thanksgiving table. And because your family may not agree on everything (or anything), we want you to be as prepared for them as you are for the big meal.
And now that the election is over, the public debate is all about the so-called "fiscal cliff," which refers to the combination of tax cuts and numerous other provisions set to expire at the end of December plus a series of automatic spending cuts scheduled to begin in January.
Contrary to what some commentators might suggest, however, the economy won’t immediately fall into a recession if Congress doesn’t reach agreement on all of these issues by midnight on December 31. Indeed, real and lasting damage WILL be done if Members of Congress allow misguided fears to pressure them into a bad deal that cuts programs vital to women and families and fails to make the wealthiest among us pay their fair share in taxes.
To explain what this means for you – and for Aunt Edith – below are a few key myths and facts.
MYTH: If we raise taxes on the richest 2%, it will kill jobs.
FACT: We’ve seen that trickle-down economics doesn’t work. We had much stronger job growth after President Clinton raised taxes on the wealthiest Americans than after President Bush cut them. And, allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest two percent to expire would generate nearly $1 trillion in savings. This much-needed revenue would allow us to call off the looming – and draconian – automatic cuts to programs that are also scheduled to take place. Plus, it would let us invest in human capital as well as physical infrastructure. When so many Americans can't find work, it's important to support programs that create good jobs and long-term economic growth. Read more »
This week is the 40th anniversary of the Supplemental Security Income program, SSI. We celebrate SSI’s vital role in providing support to the elderly poor and to poor adults and children with disabilities. It’s a particularly important program for women, who make up over two-thirds of all beneficiaries 65 and older.
Forty isn’t very old. Our Social Security system is 77, and it’s an American classic. But key parts of SSI have barely changed in the 40 years since it was enacted – and it urgently needs to be updated.
For example, with the exception of $20 per month, every additional $1 in Social Security benefits means $1 less in SSI benefits. This amount hasn’t been changed since the program was created 40 years ago – but what you can buy with $20 sure has. Adjusting for inflation since 1972 would raise this amount to $110 per month, allowing individuals with very low Social Security benefits – disproportionately women – to get a more meaningful benefit from their years of work and contributions to Social Security. Read more »
The Social Security Administration just made its annual announcement of what the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security would be in 2013. Drumroll, please: benefits will increase by 1.7 percent starting in January. For the typical single elderly woman whose monthly benefit is only $1,100, that amounts to $19 per month to meet the rising costs of food, gas – and health care.
No one who tries to make ends meet just on Social Security benefits – as millions of women do – would think that was too much.
The COLA is an important part of Social Security. It helps prevent the value of Social Security benefits from being eroded by inflation over time. But even the current COLA underestimates inflation for the elderly and people with disabilities because it doesn’t take account of their greater health care spending. Read more »
Policy makers have been talking about deficit reduction for months and one proposal keeps cropping up - changing the way that the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is made for Social Security and other federal programs. These policy makers would replace the current cost of living index with another one that will grow more slowly – the chained CPI.
Here are five things you need to know about the chained CPI:
It cuts Social Security benefits. Adjusting benefits for inflation maintains their value over time. Using the chained CPI would reduce the value of benefits by about 0.3 percent each year.
Cuts get deeper every year. A reduction of 0.3 percent a year really adds up over time. The cut in the value of benefits would equal the cost of a week’s worth of food each month by age 80 and nearly two weeks’ worth by 95 for the typical single elderly woman.
"Could you please cut out the babble? Would you quit talking about the poor, the vulnerable, the veterans, the old ladies going over cliffs, the hospices, the bedpans? I mean, what the hell? We all know, all of us know, that that's the people you want to take care of."
NWLC’s analysis of yesterday’s Census data shows poverty rates generally stabilized after three years of increases. But one notable exception is the significant increase in the poverty rate for women 65 and older living alone, which rose to 18.4 percent in 2011 from 17.0 percent in 2010.
We can’t yet explain why poverty increased for this already vulnerable group of women; the poverty rate for all women 65 and older was unchanged from 2010 at 10.7 percent. But we do know that single elderly women are especially reliant on income from Social Security. So we’re worried that policy makers continue to look to the Simpson-Bowles report as a model for deficit reduction, including its proposal to reduce Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustment by changing the measure of inflation to the “chained consumer price index,” because this proposal would especially hurt women.
Some politicians seem particularly intrigued by this idea, since it sounds like a technical change that might not be recognized as a benefit cut, and it starts out small. But the cut from the chained-CPI gets deeper every year. That’s particularly harmful to women because they live longer than men. Read more »
What's an American classic? Something that stays fresh and wonderful generation after generation. Something that says, "This is America." Like ice cream cones. The Statue of Liberty. Sunday drives. The March on Washington and "I have a dream." I Love Lucy. And our Social Security system.
On this date in 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. On its 77th birthday, we hail Social Security as an American classic! Why?
Social Security has brought Americans together across generations. Working together, we've built a system that provides income and security for workers and their families when they need it — when income is lost due to retirement, disability, or death.