What recent data are indicating is that inflation has continued to surge and could stay on that trajectory for months or years to come.
Against that concerning backdrop, the Social Security’s cost of living adjustment (COLA) for next year is expected to receive a major boost. According to the Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan senior group, that increase could come in the form of a 6.2 percent cost-of-living adjustment, which would be the highest registered in nearly forty years. Last year, the Social Security COLA only tacked on 1.3 percent.
A sizeable bump in Social Security payouts may solve the financial problems of some cash-strapped seniors, but many people still believe that the Social Security Administration (SSA) needs to be even more aggressive with its adjustments going forward.
Perhaps there is another way, according to the Senior Citizens League. The group is now campaigning to urge Congress to quickly approve a fourth round of stimulus checks that would send $1,400 direct payments to only beneficiaries of the Social Security program.
“Social Security benefits are one of the few types of income in retirement adjusted for inflation. But soaring inflation has taken a toll on household finances of retired and disabled Social Security recipients,” the group states in its petition.
“In 2021 Social Security benefits increased by just 1.3 percent raising the average benefit by only about $20 a month. But about 86 percent of Social Security recipients surveyed say their expenses increased by much more than that amount. … I strongly urge you that now is the time that you must support an emergency $1,400.00 stimulus check to Social Security recipients,” it continued.
Other Calls for Stimulus Checks
This new demand comes on the heels of other online petitions calling for recurring monthly stimulus checks of $2,000 until the pandemic ends. The most publicized among them is a Change.org petition that has already secured nearly 2.9 million signatures.
“I’m calling on Congress to support families with a $2,000 payment for adults and a $1,000 payment for kids immediately, and continuing regular checks for the duration of the crisis,” the petition says.
“Otherwise, laid-off workers, furloughed workers, the self-employed, and workers dealing with reduced hours will struggle to pay their rent or put food on the table. Our country is still deeply struggling,” it continues.
Some lawmakers in Washington also have taken action. This past spring, more than twenty Senate Democrats urged Biden to include recurring direct payments in future legislations.
“While we are pleased that the American Rescue Plan included a one-time direct payment and an extension of federal unemployment insurance programs, a single direct payment will not last long for most families,” they wrote. “This crisis is far from over, and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.