Seniors protest proposed benefit cuts

Chained CPI march

Residents in Warren took to the streets Tuesday to protest proposed cuts to Social Security.

Members of the Alliance for Senior Action and the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative chained themselves together outside of the Social Security Office in downtown Warren. The group then walked down East Market Street to Congressman Tim Ryan’s office.

Protesters say the chained Consumer Price Index adjusts the cost of living formula, which would take its toll on low-income seniors and people with disabilities by lowering benefits by almost $1,000 by age 85. Instead of the standard cost of living adjustment, the chained CPI measures what it costs to maintain a standard of living based on spending habits.

Those against the measure say the formula doesn’t take into consideration high health care costs facing seniors.

“If the chained CPI was instituted, people would receive a smaller COLA. It’s already bad enough it took them three years to get a raise,” said Tammy Thomas-Miles with MVOC. “It does not keep up with the cost of living. It does not compete with inflation. We feel like it’s more important for them to do something with the CPI, which actually takes into consideration the cost of health care for the elderly and for disabled. It’s a much more equitable way to calculate the COLA.”

Proponents of the chained CPI said it would reduce the federal deficit by about $230 billion over the next 10 years.

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