FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 19, 2011
AARP Media Relations
AARP: Much-Needed Relief for Older Americans with 2012 COLA
First increase in three years underscores importance of safeguarding Social Security benefits for current and future retirees
en Espanol | WASHINGTON – AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond offered the following statement in reaction to the Social Security Administration’s announcement this morning of the 2012 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). It will be the first cost of living increase Social Security beneficiaries have received since 2009.
“Today’s announcement is welcome news for the millions of Americans who rely on Social Security to pay their bills. Over the past two years, costs for food, utilities and health care have continued to increase while Social Security benefits have not. This first increase in three years will provide much-needed relief to millions, and underscores the importance of Social Security as the only guaranteed, lifelong, and inflation-adjusted source of retirement income for most Americans.
“Ironically, some in Washington are calling for permanently reducing Social Security checks for today’s seniors and future retirees. As part of a deficit reduction deal, many are calling on the ‘super committee’ to consider a new way to calculate the COLA, which would cut Social Security benefits by $112 billion over 10 years. This so-called ‘chained CPI’, through compounding, would cut seniors’ benefits by thousands of dollars over their lifetimes – and the older one gets, the larger the cut.
“It would be hard to overstate the financial peace of mind Social Security provides for 55 million Americans. It is the principal source of family income for nearly half of older Americans, who have incomes of roughly $20,000, and keeps nearly one-third of them out of poverty. Every dollar of the modest average benefit of about $14,000 is critical, and this COLA will help to ease the financial hardship many older Americans face today.
“Unfortunately, the increase announced today will not completely ease their burden. Medicare premiums are also expected to rise for many. And with the decline in housing values, deep losses to retirement and savings accounts and skyrocketing health and prescription drug costs, millions of older Americans continue to struggle to make ends meet.
“In this environment, reducing COLAs for current beneficiaries by moving to the chained CPI seems both unfair and illogical. AARP will continue to fight with the strength of our millions of members to protect Social Security against benefit cuts to reduce a deficit it did not cause.”
For more information, please contact AARP Media Relations at 202-434-2560 or visit www.aarp.org.
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