By the time she reached age 85, the Center’s calculations show that even with the extra bump, her cumulative benefit loss (resulting from the calculation change) would be about $6,000 in today’s dollars. At age 94, her loss would be more than $8,300. If she lived until age 95, she’d get an additional bump. Only at age 104 would she really do well—her monthly payment would climb back up to what it would have been had the Chained CPI not be adopted. By then, Bernard reports, she would have lost more than $10,000 in benefits. That’s money that would have accrued to the government in savings.

Bernard’s piece should provide inspiration for other personal finance writers and other reporters interested in telling a fuller story about the Chained CPI.

Follow @USProjectCJR for more posts from this author and the rest of the United States Project team.

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Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.