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Poverty and Income Assistance

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful for Three Key Social Insurance Programs That Kept More Than 24.0 Million Americans Out of Poverty in 2010

Jasmine Tucker, National Academy of Social Insurance

This Thanksgiving, more than 24.0 million Americans, will undoubtedly be thankful for three critical social insurance programs that helped keep them out of poverty in 2010: Social Security, unemployment insurance and workers' compensation.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

COLA Lite? There's a rumor that the supercommittee may push for the chained CPI

Virginia P. Reno, National Academy of Social Insurance

Rumor has it that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, aka “supercommittee,” is considering a switch from the present Consumer Price Index (CPI) to a “chained CPI” to determine Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). While proponents describe the change as a “technical correction” (because the present CPI is believed to overstate the inflation experienced by average consumers), the chained CPI would understate the inflation experienced by older Americans, largely because of their relatively high out-of-pocket healthcare costs and their limited ability to make substitutions (such as fuel for food) when prices rise. Switching to a chained CPI would mean cutting Social Security benefits by gradually eroding their purchasing power – a cut that would compound over time, becoming more and more severe as beneficiaries grow older.

Two NASI fact sheets discuss the consequences.

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Posted on October 13, 2011  |  Write the first comment
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Monday, July 11, 2011

How Would Shifting to a Chained CPI Affect Elderly and Disabled Americans and the Federal Budget?

Virginia P. Reno, National Academy of Social Insurance

Shifting to a new CPI to lower future Social Security benefits is part of current debt ceiling negotiations. Some call for using the new consumer price index to make cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) in Social Security and other federal benefits and to adjust brackets in the federal income tax code. Proponents of the new index – the chained CPI-U – describe it as a technical correction that would make the benefit adjustments more accurately reflect the cost of living experienced by average consumers. In fact, the chained CPI-U falls short of reflecting the living costs of the elderly and disabled because it does not take account of their higher out-of-pocket spending for health care. NASI has two fact sheets on this topic.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Social Security and Budget Deficits: Don’t Lose Sight of the Facts

Janice Gregory
President, National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI)

With the release of the new Social Security Trustees annual report, we can expect to hear sharp debates on Social Security’s financial picture. We must ensure these discussions do not lose sight of some important facts. Despite concerns about Social Security’s long-term stability, the truth is that the program is in good financial shape and, with some sensible improvements, will continue to provide security to millions of American’s for generations to come

As in previous recessions, Social Security income and outgo today are performing as they were designed, as a counter-cyclical insurance program. That is, with more people out of work, contributions from wages decrease and more program participants retire sooner than they had planned. These facts are not a cause for alarm. Rather, they demonstrate the insurance function of Social Security and how critical it is to the economic security of American workers and their families.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Helping Homeless Individuals with Serious Mental Illness Get Disability Benefits

Yvonne Perret
Executive Director, Advocacy and Training Center

Deborah Dennis
Vice President, Policy Research Associates, Inc

Margaret Lassiter
Senior Project Associate, Policy Research Associates, Inc

Social Security and SSI disability benefits are often the main sources of stable income for people who have serious mental illness. Individuals who are homeless face particular barriers in navigating the application process. They typically lack a mailing address, transportation, and a treatment history from accepted medical sources (physicians or licensed psychologists).

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