Analysis: “Chained” Proposal Would Cost MD Vets $319 Million
BALTIMORE - The federal budget is front and center in Washington, and one of the budget-cutting ideas on the table would change the cost-of-living adjustments for veterans' compensation, payments to people with disabilities and Social Security retirees.
An AARP analysis of the change shows a difference of $319 million for Maryland veterans over 10 years. Veteran Clarence Davis, president of AARP Maryland, said veterans understand sacrifice but also understand keeping promises when it comes to the benefits earned by those who served the country.
Davis said he wants cost-of-living adjustments to reflect the real world.
"Our health care costs have risen significantly," he said. "Our cost of medication, the cost of foods, look at the gas. I mean, our costs are skyrocketing."
Maryland is home to about 460,000 veterans. The chained CPI proposal is based on the thought that when those receiving benefits are paid less, they'll cut spending in other areas of their personal budgets.
When incomes are fixed, Davis said, there's really no way to make those kinds of adjustments. He attended a senior hunger event in Elkton earlier this week and said he saw first-hand what happens when fixed incomes can't be adjusted to ensure that nutritious food is on the table.
"I never thought I would see the day," he said. "I looked at the people coming through. People who had paid dues - World War II, Korea, or just plain ordinary citizens who helped to make America strong."
The AARP analysis found that the growth in benefits for retired Marylanders and veterans would shrink by larger amounts every year under the chained CPI. Young veterans with disabilities would see the greatest impact over their lifetimes.