Congressman Scott Murphy (NY-20) today announced he would support legislation to change the formula used to derive the annual Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) for seniors. The current formula is based on the Consumer Price Index, which fails to fully account for rising costs associated with those items seniors rely on, such as prescription drugs. Murphy will co-sponsor the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Elderly Consumers Act of 2009 (H.R. 2365), which will update the 30 year old COLA formula to more accurately reflect the needs of our seniors. Today, it was announced that seniors would not receive a COLA for their Social Security benefits for the second year in a row.
"Seniors should not have to make a choice between putting food on the table and buying medicine," said Murphy. "That's why I am supporting legislation to change the formula so seniors can continue to rely on the benefits they were promised. We all know that seniors' expenses have gone up the past two years, but they have been judged against the typical price index, rather than what their actual costs are. It's time to change that."
Murphy will co-sponsor the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers Act of 2009 (H.R. 2365), which was introduced by Rep. DeFazio (OR-04). The bill directs the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor to prepare and publish a monthly Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPIEC), which indicates changes over time in expenditures for consumptions that are typical for individuals aged 62 years of age or older. The bill also changes the Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) and Medicare to use such new CPIEC in the computation of cost of living increases for Social Security and Medicare benefits, replacing the CPI for All Urban Consumers (U.S. city average).