CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As national politicians continue debating the federal budget and possible severe budget cuts, the AARP is criticizing the negative impact the proposed "chained Consumer Price Index" would have on compensation and pensions paid to West Virginia's veterans.
The "chained CPI" would change how cost-of-living adjustments are calculated for veterans' compensation and Social Security, cutting amounts veterans would receive every year. Over time, the cuts would have the biggest impacts on the oldest veterans and those with severe disabilities.
AARP said it is joining more than a dozen veterans groups opposing the "chained CPI," including Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America and Disabled American Veterans.
West Virginia's AARP chapter estimates Mountain State veterans would lose more than $103 million over the next 10 years if the "chained CPI" is included in legislation that is then passed.
"West Virginia's veterans and their families deserve our support and thanks for their service and sacrifices, not cuts to the benefits they have earned and rely on," said Gaylene Miller, AARP's West Virginia state director.
"Adoption of the chained CPI would have a devastating effect on the financial well-being of our state's veterans, and we urge West Virginians to let their members of Congress know that imposing the chained CPI is unacceptable," Miller said Thursday.
President Obama has not backed the removal of "chained CPI" proposals from ongoing discussions about how to control federal deficits.
In February 2010, Obama created the Simpson-Bowles Commission to come up ideas to reduce the mounting federal deficit.
Erskine Bowles served as White House chief of staff under Democrat Bill Clinton. Alan Simpson was a Republican senator from Wyoming from 1979 to 1997.
Earlier this month, Bowles and Simpson released a new statement titled, "A Bipartisan Path Forward to Securing America's Future."
It urged Congress to "adopt chained CPI for indexing and achieve savings from programs from program integrity."