WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 25, 2013) — The members of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) listed below oppose the adoption of the Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) as presented in President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget proposal, which will change the calculation of the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for federal benefits, including Social Security, veterans compensation, and federal civilian and military retirement incomes.
The Chained CPI is a benefit cut that will disproportionately impact vulnerable elder Asian Americans and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders (AA&NHPIs). The Chained CPI is a slower measure of inflation, and would decrease the annual inflation adjustment by about 0.3 percentage points each year.
The Chained CPI does not accurately reflect the expenses that elders are more likely to incur, such as healthcare costs. For beneficiaries, the adoption of the Chained CPI would greatly lessen their economic security.
Recent Census data showed that 29 percent of married AA&NHPI couples and 60 percent of AA&NHPI unmarried individuals relied on Social Security for more than 90 percent of their income. The annual average Social Security income for AA&NHPIs is just over $14,000 a year, barely above the federal poverty level. Furthermore, the impact of this benefit cut will compound greatly over time.
According to the Strengthen Social Security Coalition, an average worker retiring at age 65 would face a cumulative cut of $4,642 at age 75, $9,521 at age 85 and $15,615 dollars at age 95. Thus, the chained CPI disproportionately affects elders in late age, and individuals with long-term disabilities.
Because AA&NHPIs as a whole have higher life expectancies, the COLA serves as a critical anti-poverty tool. Currently, 13.5 percent of Asian American elders and 9.7 percent of Native Hawaiian elders over the age of 65 live in poverty.
NCAPA members believe that government savings must not be pursued at the expense of vulnerable elders who have earned their Social Security and other benefits. The chained CPI should not be included in the budget negotiations or discussions of the Social Security program. Instead, a more accurate measure that reflects the true cost of living for elders is the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). The following members of NCAPA stand opposed to the Chained CPI:
• Asian American Justice Center: Member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice
• Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
• Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
• Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations
• Center for Asian Pacific American Women
• Hmong National Development, Inc.
• Japanese American Citizens League
• National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
• National Asian Pacific Center on Aging
• National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse
• National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
• National Korean American Service & Education Consortium
• National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
• South Asian Americans Leading Together
- Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), founded in 1996, is a coalition of thirty national Asian Pacific American organizations. Based in Washington D.C, NCAPA serves to represent the interests of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA & NHPI) community and to provide a national. www.ncapaonline.org