BOISE -- Some Idaho seniors are concerned about certain parts of President Barack Obama's proposed 2014 budget, which includes changes to Medicare and Social Security.
The budget plan calls for changing how yearly cost of living adjustments are made for Social Security and other federal programs. It could cut the federal debt, but seniors would get smaller increases in their checks each year.
Retired Meridian man worried about his finances under proposed budget
"If they start taking away from us, what are we going to live on? We put all this money in there, what's happened to all that money?" Eldon Kirby, 73-year-old Social Security Recipient, said.
While seniors would still get more money each year, the smaller increase has some who live on a fixed income, like Kirby, worried. He says his expenses are ever rising.
"I've got to put out food, rent, gas and pay for my bills I've got. Pay for all my medicine," Kirby said. "I've been paying in for a long time, and you know everybody's, you know, we're expecting that all this money's going to be there when we get there. We're waiting on the golden years. I'm still waiting for the golden years."
How much would Social Security checks change?
According to CNN, the average retired worker received $17,520 in Social Security benefits in 2012. If the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure stayed around the average since 2000 (2.54%), KTVB calculates next year's check for the average person would be $17,965.01.
If the White House budget were accepted with what's known as Chained CPI, the index is expected to grow around 0.25% slower than the current measure. So, that average person's check would decrease by around $44 in the first year, with the check at $17,921.21.
The difference under Obama's plan would become greater each year, with the difference in what is and what would have been getting farther apart; however, Social Security checks would still increase each year. See the following graph for a 20 year picture of the change.
For example, in 2023, using estimations based on recent CPI averages, that average person's check would be $23,086.63. Under the Obama budget and projected Chained CPI changes, that person would get $612 less that year, or a check for $22,474.97. By 2033, the difference is $1,483 between old and new estimated CPI percentages.
Congressman Greg Walden calls proposed budget 'shocking attack on seniors'
Appearing on CNN after the president's announcement, eastern Oregon's Congressman Greg Walden (R-Oregon) spoke out against the budget: "The budget really lays out kind of a shocking attack on seniors, if you will. We haven't seen all the detail yet, we'll look at it, but I'll tell you when you're going after seniors the way he's already done on ObamaCare, taken $700 billion out of Medicare to put into ObamaCare and now coming back at seniors again, I think you're crossing that line very quickly here in terms of denying access to seniors for health care in districts like mine certainly and around the country. I think he's going to have a lot of pushback from some of the major senior organizations on this and Republicans, as well."
Year-by-year chart estimating impact, based on averages