© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Chained Consumer Price Index could reduce Social Security for seniors

WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

The Alliance for Retired Americans held a National Day of Action to fight legislation that would reduce Social Security benefits.  Rallies were staged across the country Tuesday and WBFO's Eileen Buckley attended a protest at the Lackawanna Senior Center.

"Let me hear it from you. Stand up for your rights!"     

Senior citizens who are collecting Social Security are urged to stop Congress from approving a proposed chained Consumer Price Index would act as a inflation gage effecting certain federal benefits, such as Social Security.

Stephen Muscarella is president of the New York State Public Employees Federation Retirees Buffalo Chapter. He said it is important to educate seniors on the potential cuts this proposal could a cost of living deduction in the Social Security.

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
Seniors gather at Lackawanna Senior Center to fight chained CPI

"What they're saying is that people have a choice, for example if steak goes up to such a high percentage, people will eat chicken.  But how do you do that if you have a triple by-pass what will you do have a double by-pass? It just doesn't equate," said Muscarella.

Area unions are helping to get the word out. Richard Lipsitz is president of the Western New York Labor Federation, AFL. Lipsitz says if approved, it would "worsen the living standards" for those on a fixed income.

"It decreases their purchasing power, and they're forced to buy products that they're not use to or products that just frankly are inferior.  Money does buy better products," said Lipsitz. 

Ann Converso, a retired registered nurse, is urging seniors to fight the proposed  chained CPI. Converso said over one-third of retirees receive more than 90% of their income from Social Security.

"We worked our career and put into this. We're not just saying give me some freebie. People said if you work and contribute this this is what you will get" said Converso.

Diane Pavlik and her husband are retirees on Social Security. Pavlik said all workers should be concerned about this issue.

"You can't wait till it affects you. It's too late folks. You've got to fight it before it affects you," said Pavlik.

Western New York Congressman Brian Higgins also appeared Tuesdays event. 

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
Congressman Higgins vows to local seniors to fight chained CPI in Washington, DC.

157,000 people his Congressional District rely on Social Security benefits, with an average income of less than $15,000 a year.

Higgins is among more than 100 co-sponsors of legislation that opposes Chained C-P-I in Washington.

"We're going to fight this, and I believe we are going to succeed," said Higgins.

Higgins says an attempt to reduce the federal deficit and grow the economy should not come at the expense of seniors.  

Higgins calls Chained CPI "wrong".