Protestors petition Hanna not to touch Social Security

By Matt Porter

October 1, 2013 Updated Oct 2, 2013 at 12:35 AM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Protestors delivered a petition to Congressman Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., to vote no on a proposed change to the social security cost-of-living adjustment.

President Barack Obama proposed adjusting how Social Security's cost-of-living increase is calculated in his 2014 budget as a compromise to allow $600 million in taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

Right now, social security cost-of-living increases are based directly on inflation

COLA increases are currently measured by the annual inflation tagged to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W.

But some say people on Social Security choose lower cost goods like groceries or services when inflation grows, therefore reducing the actual cost of inflation.

This new inflation number is known as a "chained CPI."

But advocate Erin Mitchell from AARP said the new chained CPI calculation doesn't take into account other costs like healthcare, which rises faster than inflation.

"Seniors aren't making the steak-versus-chicken decision," Mitchell said. "They're making, should I buy groceries or pay the utility bill, or afford my prescription drugs."

Senior Joan Walker, of the town of Ulysses, said she can't afford even the slightest decrease in her benefits.

"The price of things keep going up," Walker said. "You've got to be able to depend on it, and I don't think they should be touching our social security, our Medicare or our Medicaid."

Hanna's office was closed Tuesday when protestors delivered their petition because of the government shutdown.

Hanna said in a statement that changes to social security will not be discussed until after the shutdown ends.