SOCIAL SECURITY COLA INCREASE SET FOR 2012

Nov 9th, 2011 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Moments Blog

3.6% Cost of Living Increase for Seniors

We senior citizens haven’t seen a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in our Social Security benefits for two years. In real dollars, that means our income has decreased because the cost of our medical care (out-of-pocket) has continued to rise.  Beginning January 2012, we will finally see an increase; it will be 3.6%.

The COLA is determined by federal statutes, comparing the cost of goods and services in the third-quarter consumer price index with that of the previous year’s third quarter.  Although inflation was flat between 2008 and 2010, and no COLA was granted in 2010 or 2011, we seniors saw significant increases in our medical bills, which meant we had less for daily living expenses and it felt to us like a decrease in our income.

Seniors Depend on Social Security for Survival

SCJ has said numerous times over the past several years that many seniors depend on their Social Security benefits for survival.  The ssa.gov site reports that half of all married couples and 3/4 of all singles depend on Social Security for a minimum of half of their income.  The average monthly benefit for retirees will be $1229 in 2012.  There are approximately 55 million seniors on Social Security in America.  This computes to upwards of 35 million seniors living on very limited fixed incomes.

This is really the heart of the economic crisis-issue for senior citizens.  We do not live extravagantly.  Most of us are members of the 99-Percenters in this country.  We just want to live without fear of not being able to buy groceries because our medical bills are too high.  Warren Buffett has said he believes the tax issue needs to be addressed with tax increases for the 1-Percenters, the wealthiest Americans.  His now-deceased wife, Susie, was a personal friend of mine; I can attest to the authenticity of Warren’s comment and intent.  People who can afford to pay the taxes need to be required to do so.  Those of us living on limited fixed incomes need no increases in our taxes, and our Social Security benefits need to be left alone.

Limited fixed incomes… vulnerable elders… Just another reason not to mess with Social Security benefits.  We seniors cannot afford to have our survival at risk.



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