Costs have skyrocketed for retirees — and Social Security benefits aren’t keeping up

[via CNBC] Retirees who feel their Social Security benefits aren’t stretching as far as they used to aren’t imagining it.

Retiree costs are going up at a rapid clip, and Social Security cost-of-living adjustments are not keeping up with those growing expenses, according to a recent report from The Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan senior advocacy group.

For example, someone who retired in 2000 would have seen their average Social Security benefit of $816 per month increase to $1,246 this year. But to keep up with inflation, they would need $1,626 — an extra $380 per month — the report found.

The group also predicts that the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, for 2021 could be zero. That’s based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index through April. That index is used to calculate the annual Social Security COLA.

The official COLA is announced every year in October, so the current prediction could change by then. Just last month, the group predicted the COLA would be 0.8% in 2021. The Social Security adjustment has been zero before, in 2016, 2011 and 2010.

A lack of any increase at all would come at a time when seniors are already feeling squeezed financially. The Senior Citizens League found that Social Security benefits have lost 30% of their buying power since 2000.

While benefits increased by 53% from January 2000 to January 2020, the costs of goods and services retirees use most jumped by 99.3%.

Read more: CNBC »

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