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Indiana Group Protests Proposed Change to Social Security

Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting

An Indiana advocacy group joined dozens of rallies across the state and country against a proposed change to Social Security it says will cut benefits for seniors.

A proposed change in the House Republican budget in Congress would tie Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustments to what’s called chained CPI, a measure of the Consumer Price Index. 

It’s a move aimed at helping reduce the ballooning national debt.  But seniors groups like the Indiana Alliance for Retired Americans say chained CPI could cost seniors as much as six thousand dollars in benefits over 15 years. 

Alliance President Elmer Blankenship says that’s because chained CPI doesn’t account for increases in healthcare costs.  And he says seniors are already vulnerable to those costs without a cut in Social Security:

“About a third of the people depend on Social Security for 90 percent of their income,” Blankenship said.

Blankenship says the Alliance wants to use a formula supported by Indiana 7th District Congressman Andre Carson.  Carson says the problem with chained CPI is that it uses data from all age ranges.  He’s proposing a formula called CPI-E that’s specific to seniors and how much their expenses are increasing

Blankenship says CPI-E would result in a roughly eight hundred dollar a year benefit increase for senior citizens.