Your Social Security Check Is Getting Bigger — Just in Time

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Starting next month, Social Security beneficiaries will receive a whopping 8.7 percent increase in monthly checks — a welcome relief for retirees battling the ravages of inflation.

This is the largest cost-of-living (COLA) adjustment since 1981 and will add $146 to the monthly benefit of the average retired Social Security recipient, taking it from about $1,681 to $1,827, the Social Security Administration says.

The agency began adjusting Social Security benefits for inflation in 1975 to ensure that the purchasing power of monthly checks did not evaporate as prices inevitably rose.

The amount of the adjustment is based on the difference between the average consumer price index for urban wage earners and white-collar workers (CPI-W) for the third quarter (July, August and September) from year to year. That’s economist talk about the rise in prices of certain goods and services tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These bigger Social Security checks will reach millions of older Americans who have seen their money needs grow in recent years due to inflation levels not seen in decades. The extra money can be a critical lifeline for those on fixed incomes.

How critical? Social Security is the largest source of retirement income for most Americans, according to AARP research. It provides almost all of the income for 1 in 4 seniors. The guaranteed benefit that social security offers is essential for their livelihood.

People who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) — payments that Social Security administers for people who are largely disabled — also get the raise, as do veterans who receive disability and retirement benefits.

For many older adults, Social Security works in tandem with Medicare. Some years, an increase in COLA is offset by higher Medicare costs, which come directly from Social Security checks.

But older Americans got more welcome news this year when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a rare reduction in Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles. AARP had called for that rollback following a drop in price and lower-than-expected use for the new Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm. A predicted increase in the cost to cover Aduhelm accounted for about half of a major premium hike in 2022.

In addition to lower premiums, part B, parts of the Inflation Reduction Act will come into effect next month. For those enrolled in Medicare Part D, most vaccines are free and insulin copays are capped at $35 per month.

Ninety percent of people age 50 and older who receive or will receive retirement benefits say they fear their benefits won’t keep up with inflation, an AARP survey found. That’s why AARP is urging Congress to work in a bipartisan way to protect and strengthen Social Security.

Millions of Americans work hard throughout their lives to earn their benefits. Social Security is a promise that must not be broken. We will continue to work with both parties to protect social security. The stakes are too high for less.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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