Disabilities Groups to Obama: Do not cut Social Security

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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.

American Association of People with Disabilities

American Council of the Blind

Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs

Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Brain Injury Association of America

Community Access National Network

Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation

Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund

Easter Seals

Epilepsy Foundation

Health & Disability Advocates

Hearing Loss Association of America

Little People of America

Mental Health America

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities

National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors

National Association of Disability Representatives

National Association of Private Special Education Centers

National Association of State Head Injury Administrators

National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery

National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare

National Council on Independent Living

National Disability Rights Network

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives

National Respite Coalition


Paralyzed Veterans of America

The Arc of the United States

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network

United Cerebral Palsy

United Spinal Association


The Strengthen Social Security Campaign is comprised of more than 320 national and state organizations representing more than 50 million Americans from many of the nation’s leading aging, labor, disability, women’s, children, consumer, civil rights and equality organizations.

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