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New York Alliance for Retired Americans WNY Chapter of NYSARA
Stephen Muscarella, President
NYS PEF Retirees


With More Than 500,000 Retired Union Members Living Across New York State Today, Including More Than 100,000 Right Here in Western New York, is Proud to be Working With the Representatives of the Western New York Chapter of the New York State Alliance For Retired Americans (NYSARA) in Order to Provide Union Retirees With a Variety of Labor News and Information They Need and Just Won’t Find Anywhere Else.

The Western New York Chapter of the New York Alliance For Retired Americans Serves as the Base for Providing Union Retirees a Voice that Can Be Heard.

Stephen Muscarella is NYSARA’s President Here in Western New York and Also Serves as President of the New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF).

For More Information on the Western New York Chapter of the New York State Alliance For Retired Americans and How You Can Get Involved, Contact Stephen Muscarella Directly Via E-Mail at

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Union Retiree News From The Alliance For Retired Americans: Senate Passes Budget That Protects Social Security & Medicare, Ends Sequester

Also: Senate Budget Also Includes Sanders Amendment Opposing Chained CPI, Republican Senator Burr Supports Chained CPI, But Wants To Exempt Veterans & Long-Term Care Insurance Increasingly Unaffordable, Especially For Women

Published Wednesday, April 3, 2013 11:00 am
by Alliance For Retired Americans

Senate Passes Budget That Protects Social Security & Medicare, Ends Sequester

The U.S. Senate has passed a Budget crafted by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (Democrat-Washington), the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.  Unlike the Budget Plan promoted by U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (Republican-Wisconsin), which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, the Murray Budget does not include any Cuts to Social Security or to Medicare Benefits, nor does it gut Medicaid by turning it into a Block Grant Program. In addition to keeping Vital Benefit Programs intact, Murray’s Budget Repeals the Harmful Sequester Cuts, while Ryan’s Budget would leave them in place through 2023.  To see the Alliance’s Chart comparing the Murray Budget passed by the Senate with the Ryan Budget passed by the House, go to  “The Murray Budget is starkly different from Paul Ryan’s Budget,” Alliance For Retired Americans Executive Director Edward Coyle said. “While Ryan’s Plan attempts to Balance the Budget ‘on the backs’ of Seniors and the Middle Class, this Budget ‘protects’ Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. as well as ending the harmful Sequester Cuts.  It presents a far more Positive and Retiree-Friendly Alternative to the Ryan Plan.”


Senate Budget Also Includes Sanders Amendment Opposing Chained CPI

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont) authored an Amendment to the Senate Budget which opposes switching to the Chained CPI Method of calculating Social Security Benefits.  The Amendment was included in the Final Budget that passed the Senate.  In a statement released after the vote, Sanders stressed that the Senate is clearly opposed to Chained CPI and will oppose any Bill that includes it.  If implemented, Chained CPI would Cut Social Security Benefits for 55 million Americans, including Retirees, Disabled Veterans and the Surviving Spouses and Children of Veterans.  Sanders mentioned the Alliance on the Senate Floor in conjunction with the vote.  The Amendment passed by Voice Vote.  To read his statement, go to  “We are very pleased to see the Senate firmly reject Chained CPI,” Alliance President Barbara Easterling said. “Retirees and Veterans ‘Paid into the System’ and they deserve their full Social Security Benefits.”


Republican Senator Burr Supports Chained CPI, But Wants To Exempt Veterans

U.S. Senator Richard Burr (Republican-North Carolina) told The Hill he supports implementing the Chained CPI Method of calculating Social Security.  However, Burr stated that he did favor Exempting Veterans from the switch to Chained CPI.  To read Burr’s statements to The Hill, go to   “Exempting Veterans might sound good in theory, but it’s unworkable in practice,” the Alliance’s Coyle said. “The vast majority of Beneficiaries, including both Veterans and Retirees, live on Extremely Modest Means and cannot absorb such a Large Cut to their Benefits. T here is no humane way to implement Chained CPI.”


Long-Term Care Insurance Increasingly Unaffordable, Especially For Women

Just as many Retiring Baby Boomers are seeking to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance, the Companies that provide it are making it more difficult to Purchase by Raising Premiums, Weakening Coverage, and Charging Women Higher Rates than Men.  According to data from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, Premiums have Risen Dramatically in just the last year, by an average of 10% for Couples and 20% for Singles.  Alternatively, more Companies are giving Customers the Option to Buy Cheaper Plans that do not offer Inflation Protection and will likely result in Considerably Lower Benefits.  Companies are also Increasingly Charging Women Higher Rates than Men for Long-Term Care Insurance, which did not used to be the case.  They justify this because Women are more likely to Live Longer and are less likely to have a Caregiver, since they tend to Out-Live their Husbands.  To read an article in The New York Times about the issue, go to   “Charging Women higher Premiums is unjust,” Alliance President Easterling said. “The Affordable Care Act made it Illegal to Charge Women to Pay Steeper Rates than Men for their Health Insurance.  The Government should take steps to give Women the ‘same protection’ when it comes to Long-Term Care Insurance and to make Long-Term Care Insurance ‘more affordable’ for ‘all’ Retirees.”



Seniors Face Growing Credit Card Debt Crisis

According to Two Recent Studies, Seniors are facing an Alarming, and Growing, Debt Crisis.  A Report from AARP’s Public Policy institute and Demos, a Research Organization, compared the Amount of Credit Card Debt held by Different Age Groups.  The Report found Americans over the Age of 50 carried an Average Balance of $8,278, while those under the age of 50 had a Comparatively Lower Average balance of $6,258.  A Second Study, from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, found that the Percentage of Income that Americans over 75 spend on Debt Payments substantially increased from 4.5% to 7.1% in just three years between 2007 and 2010.  Experts pinpoint Medical Expenses as one of the Primary Causes of the Increased Debt.  To read The New York Times write-up on that issue, go to  “Seniors should not be ‘forced’ to go into Debt just to afford Health Care and Basic Living Expenses,” Alliance Secretary-Treasurer Ruben Burks said. “This is a clear illustration of why ‘any’ Cuts to Social Security and Medicare would be a disaster for Retirees at a time when so many are already struggling to get by.”


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