Social security benefits are designed to keep pace with inflation. As the cost of living goes up so do the benefits. For millions of senior citizens relying on social security, money is tight and getting tighter. For the first time since it went into effect in 1975, social security checks will not include a cost of living increase.
“I was a little upset, but I know things are bad and I, in some ways, kind of expected it,” said social security recipient Maryanna Kelley.
The annual adjustment is based on the Consumer Price Index between July and September of each year. Last year, food and gas prices were sky high, so social security increased by almost six percent. Since, those prices have fallen drastically, which means no cost-of-living increase come January.
“There is nothing I can do about it, as far as I know,” said Homer Glover. “I am not going to be concerned about it.”
But many seniors are concerned. With high costs for health care, some say there is barely enough money left for the essentials.
For many seniors it has meant big withdrawals from their savings. “I’ve got some stock and every month I have to take $1,000 to $2,000 out of that,” said Glover.
President Obama is trying to soften the blow by urging the government to give a $250 payment to nearly 60 million Americans; a proposal that’s received mixed reviews.
The cost-of-living adjustment will also affect federal pensions, and disabled veteran benefits.
The White House says the extra $250 payments will cost the government more than $13 billion.
For seniors, it would be the second one-time benefit check. The first was part of the president’s stimulus.