Chart of the Day: Poor elderly women to get screwed in fiscal cliff deal

NWLC chart showing loss under chained CPI
After several offers and counteroffers, Congress and the President may be close to reaching a fiscal cliff deal. Part of that agreement involves cutting Social Security benefits by switching to calculating them based on chained CPI.

According to Brad DeLong, “‘Chained-CPI’ is code for ‘let’s really impoverish some women in their 90s!'”

Since women tend to live longer than men and tend to be poorer than men, they’ll be the hardest hit by this change. As Bryce Covert notes, Social Security is basically the only source of income for nearly 40 percent of women over 80, compared to 28 percent of men. By switching to chained-CPI, at age 80, a single elderly woman’s Social Security benefits would be cut by the equivalent of one week’s worth of food each month, according to the National Women’s Law Center. By age 95, they’d be down by nearly two weeks of food. Some women have the support of their children to fall back on, but many do not. (See the cumulative cuts in the chart above.)

This hit is likely on top of another $100 billion in spending cuts to important domestic programs that low-income women and children rely on. As Bryce notes, “Poor women make for a pretty pathetic bargaining chip after an election in which women helped usher Obama to victory.”

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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  • Catherine

    Thanks for pointing this out. I’d also like to point out that this effects disabled women disproportionately as well. The way Social Security is calculated is completely sexist from the start~ being based on wages earned. Given the wage disparity and the time away from paid work for raising children for most women, our SS benefits are much lower than men’s. If you become disabled at a relatively young(er) age, then your social security disability benefits~ usually the sole income for most disabled women~ are just enough to guarantee a life of poverty.

    • Catherine

      I meant to say: especially if you are a single disabled woman, regardless of how you got that way.

  • Barbara Christe
    It is my understanding, and please notify me if I am wrong, that what is proposed is how SS COLA is calculated. I am on SS and my benefit COLA was a $30.00 increase for 2013. According to the above referenced article the change would result in a .025% decrease in my COLA which would be 75cents a month and $9.00 per year. Over time this would add up but it is not very draconian for me. And your chart seems to be wrong.

  • Margherite Williams

    The logic in this “cliff” argument defies reason. I am 70 with mild disabilities and retired on Social Security (about 95% of my income). I retired “early” at 67 because no one would hire me because I was “overqualified”. I think that meant because I was 67 with mild disabilities, but I’ve been hearing that excuse ever since Reagan was in office. We over-educated old ladies never had a chance against subsidized off-shoring either.

  • Shar

    Then there are the women who’ve been made poverty stricken or homeless due to an insidious epidemic going on so secret nobody knows about it until it happens to you! It has a name but the criminal acts behind it make the name ‘estate theft’ sound pretty hollow.

    Aided and assisted by: banks, law enforcement, lawyers, courts, insurance companies-by hook and many crooks, once you’ve entered the realm of being considered prey-you will be lucky to emerge with your life.

    I’ve got an ongoing case right now-Title/Escrow agent also CA Notary Public made herself beneficiary to our sold home’s note of $300,000 value with monthly payment of $1200 a month. Required my husband to be dead for that pay off but no problem when you are connected with Notaries and hospitals eager to oblige.

    ‘Stealing monies out of accounts where spouse is not beneficiary but someone else is and the monies in account are community funds are the number one reason for civil suits after the death of a spouse’. Doesn’t it seem if that fact is so well known in the legal community that there would be measures taken or laws (not that laws stop any of the white collar criminals either) requiring any married person to have their spouses sign off on solo accounts? (Not that that matters either as forging of signatures is also very common in estate thefts).

    And knowing that ‘families’ are the #1 perpetrators in ‘estate thefts’ should make the take downs and prosecutions that much easier but in fact if it is ‘family’ who steals half a million or more from a widow or widower’ that signals ‘back off and refuse to investigate’ crimes of: fraud, forgery, Title theft, Notary theft, bank theft, identity theft, gun theft, property theft and there is nothing that will be done about it but to finish the victim off in civil courts versus the criminal courts where all these thieves belong to be.

    How many older women are out on the streets or left penniless due to estate/asset thefts? How many go into foreclosure due to criminally corrupt Title and Notary agents?

    The FBI told me they would not even investigate ‘estate theft’ unless the dollar amounts stolen were over a million dollars ‘because this happens so much’.

    Bank managers have told me ‘though using a dead man’s ATM to steal 401k monies are both felonies ‘this happens so much…”. Stealing the BODIES of the dead is also very common, anything to try and cheat your way into being the one making out the death certificate which is the key to turn all those assets of the dead into their own REGARDLESS OF THE SPOUSE screaming and shouting in the fore or background.

    My husband was only 54 when he died of congestive heart failure. I had never heard of any of these types of crimes before. I have spent five years of my life fighting for investigations and the return of our half million dollars of cash and property. NOBODY will do their jobs and lawyers just get in line to bleed the last drop of cash you might have left. They don’t care if guns are stolen. They don’t care if vehicles are stolen. They don’t care if tax refunds are forged and stolen. IRS and SS can not keep up with the crimes of forgery, theft and fraud either.

    So if you have a sick spouse, trust me, there will be at least one if not the entire ‘neighborhood’ making themselves privy to your info and assets. It should be illegal for any and all legal work to be done in hospitals and also illegal for those ‘traveling Notaries’. Based on what I have discovered, suffered and endured there are no legal forms that will protect you, I would never sign or have a DNR for the hospital and I would never do any business with a lawyer in regards to my estate planning, do it in confidential privacy over the internet. Lawyers and courts make big money fighting estate theft in civil courts versus the criminal courts where these criminals should be prosecuted from.

    Your insurance agent/company is another one who will quickly ‘side’ with the thieves if they don’t have your assets under their gaze too. I’ve dealt with all the ones I paid for ‘protection’ and they’ve all eagerly assisted the thieves. Nobody will put out ANYTHING to assist you with the reclaiming or recovery of your stolen assets. Banks will give the money away to the thieves and close accounts right in your face. Illegally but there will be no recourse.

    Ask your own tax person about ‘estate theft’ and hear some horror stories. Millions are stolen all the time and there will be NOTHING done about it even if you are able to toss away tens of thousands of dollars ‘FIGHTING FOR THE RETURN OF YOUR PROPERTY’.