Social Security checks to get slight increase in 2017

Americans on Social Security will get a small increase in 2017.

For the third consecutive year, the nation's 65 million seniors will see virtually no increase in their Social Security benefits, even as premiums for their federally funded health care and prescription drugs are expected to rise substantially.

"To the extent that many Social Security beneficiaries spend more of their money on healthcare than the average American, this year's COLA may not keep pace with actual living costs", says Max Gulker, an AIER research fellow.

Social Security says the cost-of-living adjustment will add $5 to the average monthly payment for all retired workers, which is $1,355 before the raise.

Medicare beneficiaries who collect Social Security typically get their Medicare Part B premium deducted from their monthly Social Security check. That's known as the "hold harmless" provision, and it protects the majority of Medicare recipients. Their premiums would jump.

Social Security benefits reach more than 60 million people as well as 8 million Supplemental Security Income recipients. Phil is the author of the new book, "Get What's Yours from Medicare", and co-author of "Get What's Yours: The Revised Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security".

The low COLA for 2017 comes at a time when inflation is starting to rise toward the Federal Reserve Board's target rate of 2%.

Consumer advocates have criticized the inflation measure in recent years, arguing that it does not accurately reflect the expenses retirees face.

Those without Social Security benefits, however, have to pick up the rest of the premium costs, which are projected to be $149 a month in 2017. It's been zero three times.

DeLauro will visit East Shore Senior Center in New Haven to talk about efforts to expand Social Security benefits.

Benefits have held relatively flat for almost a decade, dating back to the Great Recession. "I couldn't depend on an increase in Social Security", he said. That projection was based on the trustees' projection of a 0.2 percent COLA.

The Consumer Price index is influenced by lower prices for gasoline and other forms of energy.

Fed monetary policy makers want to see prices rising 2 percent annually.

The Social Security COLA is calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics' periodic Consumer Price Index, a statistical estimate of the anticipated price of a variety household goods and services.

  • Salvatore Jensen