A woman broke into tears at a town hall event with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) during a discussion about President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce Social Security cost of living increases.
Throughout this year, the White House has been considering adopting what’s known as chained CPI, a less generous way of calculating Social Security cost-of-living increases that assumes seniors will change their buying habits as certain items become more expensive.
Compared with the current model, advocacy group Social Security Works has said that a person who began drawing Social Security at the age of 62 would be receiving 7.32 percent less in benefits per year by the age of 88 under chained CPI.
“I’m sorry to say that the president of my own party has advocated this and he’s wrong,” Harkin told a group of seniors at a retirement center on Tuesday. “I’m so tired of people saying we’ve got to cut Social Security. I thought, we got to come back and say something, no, you’ve got to increase Social Security.”
Many attendees also spoke out against the plan, but one woman, Sheryl Tenicat, became emotional as she begged for Social Security not to be cut.
“I have $624 a month, that’s what I’m living on,” Tenicat explained. “Ninety-nine [dollars] of that goes to Medicare Part D and B. After I get my check, in two weeks, it’s gone. I have nothing. I live with what I eat here. And I just do not want my cost of living cut because I’ve paid in since I was 16 to the government. I’m looking for work in my retirement years so that I can exist. I do own my house, but I don’t know how long that will go because I have property taxes to pay.”
Tenicat added that her car had broken down and she now had to take the bus to the retirement center to receive her free meals.
“There is no way for me to eat less,” she said.
Watch this video from WHO-TV, broadcast Aug. 6, 2013.