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Needed: Fair federal cost-of-living adjustments | READER COMMENTARY

Trays of printed social security checks wait to be mailed from the U.S. Treasury's Financial Management services facility in Philadelphia. Tens of millions of Social Security beneficiaries and other retirees benefit from annual cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security and some other federal programs. Exactly that is calculated, however, can make a big difference. (AP Photo/Bradley C. Bower, File)
Trays of printed social security checks wait to be mailed from the U.S. Treasury's Financial Management services facility in Philadelphia. Tens of millions of Social Security beneficiaries and other retirees benefit from annual cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security and some other federal programs. Exactly that is calculated, however, can make a big difference. (AP Photo/Bradley C. Bower, File) (radley C Bower)

I am a retired federal employee writing to raise public awareness about the Fair COLA for Seniors Act, H.R. 1553, which would provide more accurate annual cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security beneficiaries, federal annuitants and veterans. The legislation would bring much-needed financial relief to millions of seniors in Maryland and across the country.

Under the Fair COLA for Seniors Act, COLAs would be calculated using the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly, or CPI-E, instead of the current method that relies on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, CPI-W. The CPI-E better accounts for seniors’ spending habits, especially on medicine, health care, housing and related costs. The change would provide more accurate calculations, increasing adjustments by an estimated 0.27 percentage points per year. That might not sound like much, but considering the principle of compounding, over time this will make a significant difference in the lives of retirees.

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I urge seniors in this state and across the country to contact their legislator in the U.S. House of Representatives and ask him or her, including Rep. Kweisi Mfume, to cosponsor this important legislation.

Gary Roundtree, Gwynn Oak

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