President’s 2015 Budget Request to be released next week; Chained CPI not expected to be included

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced that the President’s budget request would be released on March 4 with a more detailed version to come the following week.   According to press accounts, the President’s budget will stick to the discretionary spending caps set by the budget agreement Congress passed last year, but will not include shifting to the “chained consumer price index” for cost-of-living adjustments under Social Security and other programs.  The Arc strongly opposes use of the chained CPI for Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and other programs because it reduces the annual cost of living increase and results in cuts in benefits for low income individuals and people with disabilities.

Budget Conference Committee Holds Second Public Meeting

On November 13, the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Conference Committee held its second public meeting. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) director Doug Elmendorf presented on CBO’s budget and economic outlook and answered questions. Committee Members inquired about numerous budget issues including spending for entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare), investments to spur job creation, income inequality, and overall federal spending and revenues. The Committee’s recommendations are due by December 13. View the archived webcast.

Shortly afterwards, CBO released its report “Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2014-2023” which include numerous options for spending cuts and increased revenue and the estimated costs of those options. The list includes a number of options that would be harmful to people with disabilities, including eliminating Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for children; reducing Social Security benefits for new beneficiaries by 15%; using an alternative measure of inflation (the “chained” consumer price index (CPI)) to index Social Security and other mandatory programs; and raising the full retirement age for Social Security.

House and Senate Resolutions Oppose Chained Consumer Price Index

In the House, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) has introduced H. Con. Res.34, expressing the sense of the Congress that the Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) should not be used to calculate cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security benefits. Eighty-two Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of this concurrent resolution, which has been referred to the Committee on Ways and Means. In the Senate, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) has introduced S. Con. Res. 15, expressing the sense of Congress that the Chained CPI should not be used to calculate cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security or veterans’ benefits, or to increase the tax burden on low- and middle-income taxpayers. Sixteen Senators have signed on to the concurrent resolution, which was referred to the Committee on Finance. The Arc strongly supports these resolutions.

House Holds Hearing on Chained CPI

Last week, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing on “President’s and Other Bipartisan Entitlement Reform Proposals.” The hearing focused on proposals to use the chained Consumer Price Index (“chained CPI”) for cost-of-living adjustments under Social Security and other programs, as well as the federal tax code. The Arc strongly opposes use of the chained CPI for Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, the federal poverty guidelines, and other vital programs for low-income people, including people with disabilities. Visit the Committee’s web site to review testimony and archived video from the hearing. Visit The Arc’s web site to learn more about our concerns with the chained CPI.

Webinar on Cuts from the Chained CPI & People with Disabilities, March 27th, 2:00 pm

As Congress continues to look at deficit reduction, a major cut called the “chained CPI” is on the table. The chained CPI would cut Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other vital benefits. Cuts from the chained CPI would add up significantly over time and would disproportionately harm people with disabilities. The Arc recently released a National Policy Matters on the chained CPI. On Wednesday March 27, 2013, from 2:00 – 2:45 p.m. EDT join the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Social Security Task Force for a webinar to learn more about:

  • What is the chained CPI?
  • How would the chained CPI harm people with disabilities and their families?
  • What can you do to help keep the chained CPI from becoming a reality?

Register online. For more information: T.J. Sutcliffe, The Arc / CCD Social Security Task Force Co-Chair at sutcliffe@thearc.org / 202-783-2229 or Rebecca Vallas, Community Legal Services / CCD Social Security Task Force Co-Chair at rvallas@clsphila.org / 215-981-3797.

The Arc Releases New Resource on the Chained CPI, a Benefit Cut

The Arc has released a new issue of National Policy Matters, “The Chained CPI Cuts Social Security and SSI: What Disability Advocates Need to Know.” With ongoing Congressional discussions over deficit reduction, The Arc is very concerned about threats to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These lifelines provide essential financial security for millions of Americans, including people with disabilities. The Arc believes that Social Security and SSI should not be part of deficit reduction, and that any changes to these systems must be carefully evaluated in terms of their effects on beneficiaries. This issue of National Policy Matters looks at one major threat to Social Security and SSI, the chained Consumer Price Index (“chained CPI”).

  • The chained CPI cuts Social Security and SSI benefits by reducing annual cost of living increases. Cuts add up significantly over time and would disproportionately harm people with disabilities.
  • The chained CPI also cuts veterans pensions and certain military and civilian retirement benefits, and would limit eligibility for over 30 vital programs such as Medicaid, Head Start, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
  • The public strongly opposes cutting Social Security, including through the chained CPI.

Visit The Arc’s website to read more and download the National Policy Matters.