Cutting Benefits: Washington’s New Way to Thank Veterans for Their Service

This week AARP highlights the financial losses veterans would face if a COLA cut known as Chained or Superlative CPI ever became law.  It seemed unlikely that after setting such a different agenda, rumors would still persist that the President wants to cut benefits for children, veterans, people with disabilities, widows, and older Americans in his budget.  If the President also thinks that making such a proposal doesn’t doom his chances to win the House back from GOP control, we …

COLA Change: How Much Would You Lose?

The chained CPI – a proposal to change the way the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is calculated for Social Security and veterans benefits – can be as confusing as its name. And with it comes a number of daunting statistics: Retirees and veterans would lose $129 billion in benefits over the next 10 years. If you’re 62 and take early retirement this year, by age 92 you’d be losing the equivalent of a full month of income every year. Poverty rates …

Hammering an Idea for Stingier COLAs

This video might leave you with the impression that nobody wants a proposed change for calculating cost-of-living adjustments (COLA). Not older Americans. Not veterans. Not women. Not labor. And certainly not independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. That the so-called chained Consumer Price Index has no support isn’t the case, of course, or these people wouldn’t have met at the U.S. Capitol to take turns bashing the proposal. Though the formula would slow increases in Social Security, veterans and …

Adventures in Caregiving: Taking Mom and Dad to the Movies

Due to Mom and Dad’s health issues, it’s been a very long time since I’ve attempted taking them to a movie. Nevertheless, fortified by Danielle, our live-in caregiver, and my boyfriend, Bill, I recently decided to try taking them to see, “Lincoln.” Here’s how we pulled it off … and the emotional roller coaster that ensued for me. We chose an early Tuesday evening when there wouldn’t be crowds (matinees are great too.) We arrived at the movie theater late, …

Digging Deeper on Changes to the Social Security COLA

No one with any common sense wants to see our politicians take us over the fiscal cliff. And I think most people with common sense also realize that Social Security, and the tougher issue of Medicare, are worth thoughtful debate and discussion so these vital programs can be put on stronger footing for future generations. However, when budget cutters take aim at today’s Social Security recipients, it’s time to ask questions and dig deeper into the fine print. A proposal …

PTSD Vets: Don’t Ask for a Service Dog

For years, I’ve written articles about the power therapy dogs have over people with dementia, loneliness and behavioral problems. My own sweet springer spaniel was a certified service dog I’d take to nursing homes. Of course, you don’t have to have any of those issues to find them comforting. (When my father was dying, he asked for my dog.) So my human ears perked up when I read that a federal regulation that went into effect last week still does …