Bill introduced to base annual cost-of-living adjustments on seniors’ living expenses

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) introduced S. 1876, the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers Act of 2011. The bill would base annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) on an inflation index geared toward the goods and services consumed by older Americans, known as the CPI-E. By law, Social Security COLAs are currently based on a Consumer Price Index (CPI) designed for employed urban and clerical workers, known as the CPI-W. The CPI-W does not fully reflect costs that make up a large portion of seniors’ budgets, such as health care costs. Switching to the CPI-E would better reflect changes in consumer prices for seniors and people with disabilities, and would typically result in larger COLAs. The Arc strongly supports efforts to ensure adequate benefit levels and protect buying power through appropriate COLAs.

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