What You Need to Know
- Retirees got a 5.9% raise for 2022 as inflation has topped 7%.
- The average Social Security benefit rose $92 a month, while 73% of older adults surveyed said their costs had risen $96 a month or more.
Seniors are worse off today despite the biggest cost-of-living adjustment to Social Security benefits in the past 40 years, according to a new survey by The Senior Citizens League, an advocacy group for older adults.
Despite a COLA of 5.9% for 2022, raising average Social Security benefits by $92 per month, 73% of survey respondents who receive Social Security said their monthly expenditures increased by at least $96 per month in 2021, according to the group. Further, 48% stated their monthly expenditures had increased by more than $144.
The yearly adjustment is determined by average inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, during the third quarter of the previous year. However, “inflation has burned through consumer buying power” since the 2022 COLA was set, said Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League, in a statement.
TSCL calculated that the COLA based on the latest CPI data would be 7.6%.
The increase in inflation since 2021 means there is now an unusually high benefit shortfall of almost 2%, Johnson says. She points out that the CPI-W in December 2021 was up 7.8%, already higher than the COLA to be received in January.