Think the COLA Increase Raised Your Social Security Check? Wrong. Inflation Likely Made You Earn Less In Real Dollars: Roughly seventy million American retirees are in line to see a boost to their respective Social Security checks this month, but it appears much of that will be offset due to the current red-hot inflationary environment.
In fact, many Americans after inflation could have technically less money than they did before.
The numbers don’t lie. According to a new U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released earlier this week, the consumer price index (CPI), a metric that measures costs across dozens of items, marched higher by 7 percent—the fastest increase seen since the summer of 1982.
The price increases were witnessed in all areas of goods and services. For example, energy prices are up nearly 30 percent from the year prior. Meanwhile, gasoline costs nearly 50 percent more than last year, food prices 6.3 percent higher, used car and truck prices more than 37 percent higher, and shelter costs 4.1 percent higher.
Stimulus Checks for Senior Citizens?
Against this concerning backdrop, it now appears that senior citizens on Social Security are calling for more direct payments to help amid these difficult times. The petition—launched by the Senior Citizens League—is seeking quick approval on another round of stimulus checks for only Social Security program recipients.
“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. 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,” the petition reads.
“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 concludes.
Senior Citizens Seen to Be More Vulnerable
According to finance writer Dana George at The Motley Fool, many seniors have been bearing the brunt of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the continuous surge in inflation—but most had nothing to fall back on except for the three previous stimulus checks that were approved by Congress. According to AARP, the estimated average Social Security retirement benefit only comes in at $1,634 per month.
“Stimulus checks were a boon for senior citizens,” she writes.
“Overwhelmingly, these retirees could not file for unemployment benefits and don’t benefit from advanced Child Tax Credit checks. While 2022 Social Security beneficiaries will see a 5.9 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), Medicare’s Part B premium is set to increase by $21.60 per month in 2022,” she adds.
George concludes that “no matter how you slice it, senior citizens dependent on Social Security checks to live may be prime candidates for additional stimulus funds.”
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.