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Is a Historic Social Security Increase Coming Soon?

Social Security COLA

Indications in recent months have been that, due to continuing inflation, Social Security recipients will be looking at a historic rise in cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) early next year.

The Senior Citizens League’s most recent estimates predicted a 6.2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security recipients for 2022, up from the previous estimate of 6.1 percent. That would represent the largest increase of its kind since 1983.

“The estimate is significant because the COLA is based on the average of the July, August, and September CPI data,” Mary Johnson, a Social Security policy analyst for the Senior Citizens League, said in a statement earlier this month.

The official number will be announced the second week of October. And Motley Fool said this week that the raise, if it’s as high as it looks like it’s going to be, will represent an historic rise for most people collecting.

“[A 6.2 percent increase] would mark the biggest jump in benefit payouts since the 7.4% COLA announced in 1982 and passed along in 1983,” Motley Fool said. “In other words, the last time Social Security passed along a benefit hike this large, roughly 169 million Americans alive today weren’t even born.”

Motley Fool also looked at why such an increase perhaps should not be considered a good thing.

“The COLA isn’t designed to help retired workers “get ahead.” It’s merely a device designed to keep pace with the prevailing rate of inflation. Therefore, most of Social Security’s 65 million beneficiaries can expect their pay raise to be offset by the rising price of goods and services throughout various facets of the economy,” the site said, adding that Social Security purchasing power “has been declining precipitously since the beginning of the century.”

Another recent article suggested that it’s wrong to even characterize adjusted Social Security benefits as a “raise” at all.

Retirement expert Elizabeth Bauer wrote in a recent op-ed for Forbes that “raise” is probably the wrong terminology to use.

“The reality, of course, is this is not actually good news,” Bauer wrote. “These adjustments to Social Security benefits are merely meant to keep benefits in line with inflation, and workers themselves will expect pay increases that match inflation to be owed to them, and deem a raise at CPI level to be no real ‘raise’ at all.”

She added that the inflation is overall bad news for benefit recipients.

“Despite the decline in pensions for new workers, traditional defined benefit pensions remain an important source of retirement income, with 56% of retirees reporting a pension in a Federal Reserve study in 2017,” Bauer wrote. “Although states like Illinois are notorious for their guaranteed, fixed annual increases, not all states offer CPI adjustments, and CPI adjustments are exceedingly rare in the private sector.”

 Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. John Steele

    August 25, 2021 at 10:43 am

    They are printing money and that’s a economic disaster for us. Its just a matter of time before SS goes bankrupt at this rate. Only massive taxes will stop this and that alone will destroy the economy that President Trump re-built.

  2. Bonnie S Gillmore

    August 25, 2021 at 10:45 am

    So how much of this will be offset by the medicare increase?

  3. Robert Golubski

    August 26, 2021 at 6:46 am

    Watch out much they take of that for Medicare!

  4. Don T

    August 26, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    There is no SS money drain on the economy except maybe the millions that are on the SS roles that are not retirees. It is easy to get a disability label just like the handicap tag for your car. If they want to throw around trillions of dollars just bump up SS payments by 30-40%. I promise it will boost the economy because it will be spent.

  5. William Ripskull

    August 26, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    Hmmm… where is that money coming from, considering the SS fund is penniless and has to steal money from future recipients to pay the benefits of current recipients, money that was supposed to be saved and invested, but was wantonly spent and wasted on the welfare state and lavish salary and benefits for government workers.

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