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Survey: Proposed Entitlement Changes A Tough Sell For NY Seniors

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On Wednesday, President Barack Obama's proposed budget will be unveiled, and it includes changes to the way Medicare and Social Security adjustments are calculated. A new survey by New Yorkers over the age of 50 indicates seniors are outraged that entitlement programs are on the table. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.

When word leaked that President Obama's upcoming budget plan included proposed changes to Social Security and Medicare it drew stinging criticism from senior groups like AARP.

"Seniors are not a budget item line, nor are veterans," said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel.

It's widely reported that Obama's proposal to reduce the deficit includes replacing cost of living increases with "chained CPI" or consumer price index reductions.

"In this formula, they leave out utilities, they leave out health care costs, and they leave out prescription drug costs. And we know this is not about choosing to buy steak and then you buy chicken because your budget is reduced," Finkel said.

AARP officials say cuts would be devastating to senior citizens, veterans and the disabled population, costing New York State some $8.5 billion in cuts. When you break it down borough by borough residents in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan who depend on benefits get hit the hardest:

• Queens: $701 million
• Brooklyn: $645 million
• Manhattan: $600 million
• Bronx: $369 million
• Staten Island: $210 million

A new survey from AARP membership shows seven in 10 New York City voters over the age of 50 oppose changing the way the Social Security cost of living adjustment is calculated; 67 percent of seniors surveyed say they will be less favorable towards their member of congress if they support the chained CPI proposal.

"One out of every five New York City seniors is living below the poverty line. So there are people who are going to make difficult decisions should their resources be reduced," Finkel said.

In return for changes to Medicare and Social Security President Obama reportedly wants tax increases on corporations and the wealthy.

President Obama's full budget proposal will be released on Wednesday.

Woelfel Research, an independent research firm, conducted 1,000 interviews of registered voters age 50+ in the State of New York. The survey fielded March 27 - April 3, 2013.

The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.4 percent.

To learn more about the survey visit www.aarp.org/ny.

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