After two years of no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase, the Social Security Administration is expected to announce tomorrow that Social Security recipients will get a raise in benefits in 2012.
The boost, which is tied to the government’s official inflation measure and is expected to be between 3.5% and 3.7%, comes as welcome news to seniors who saw their last increase back in 2009, after receiving automatic COLA increases every year since 1975.
“It’s important to remember that the typical older American today lives on an income of roughly $20,000, and Social Security keeps nearly a third of older Americans out of poverty,” said Tiffany Lundquist, spokeswoman for the AARP, a Washington-based advocacy group for seniors, in a statement. “After two years with no COLA and increasing costs for food, utilities and health care, every dollar of the modest average benefit of $14,000 is critical.”
Seniors who receive monthly checks from the Social Security Administration are waiting to hear about the increase that will take effect in December of this year and will be issued in the checks in 2012. For a senior receiving a $1,000 check, that the expected increase amounts to about $35-$37 extra a month.
In addition to SSI benefits, a positive COLA triggers several other automatic adjustments including retirement earnings exempt amounts and the earnings required for one Social Security credit.
For more information on COLA and for a complete list of all automatic adjustments that will be affected, head over to the Social Security Administration website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.