FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, July 22, 2011
35 National Disabilities Groups Representing Millions of Americans Urge President Obama & Congress Not to Cut Social Security Benefits
Groups Send Letters Opposing Changes to COLA Formula that Would Result in Significant Benefit Cuts
(Washington, DC) — Two leading disability group coalitions – the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities and the National Disability Leadership Alliance – sent letters to President Obama and to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate recently, urging them to oppose any effort to reduce the Social Security and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) by adopting the chained consumer price index (CPI) formula during debt-ceiling negotiations.
The letters, which were signed by a total of 35 organizations, identified specific and significant cuts to benefits that would occur in programs that people with disabilities greatly depend on – Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income – should the chained CPI be used to calculate the annual COLA. Those cuts are detailed in this fact sheet.
The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities letter said: “Although some might describe use of the “chained” CPI as a mere technical change, it will likely have dramatic impacts on current and future Social Security beneficiaries. For a beneficiary receiving the average Disability Insurance benefit, benefits would be cut by $333 per year (2.6%) after 10 years, $692 (5.4%) after 20 years, and $1,710 per year (13.34%) after 50 years. These cuts could be devastating and force people to make terrible life and death choices between paying for a prescription or buying food.”
The National Disability Leadership Alliance letter said: “For many of these citizens, changing the COLA formula this way will mean taking them one step closer to a life below the poverty level. Rather than finding ways to decrease the COLA, our country should increase it to better reflect such realities as the higher out-of-pocket health care costs experienced by people with disabilities and seniors.”
A list of the organizations that signed one or both of the letters is below.