Seniors your budget is going to get even tighter coming December 2015. Social security is not increasing any benefits, and that includes a cost of living adjustment (COLA). Social Security and SSI payments are remaining flat next year because of the federal formula for calculating the cost of living adjustment, or COLA is being driven by the cheap gasoline prices this month. This means consumer costs have dropped from last year. Many individuals know this is not true, and consumer cost are still increasing. In addition, with the increase of minimum wage more consumer cost will increase.
More than 70 million Americans are impacted by the lack of a COLA. “With consumer prices down over the past year, monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for nearly 65 million Americans will not automatically increase in 2016” the Social Security Administration said in a press release. This news comes after the debate between Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen Bernie Sanders. Sanders has advocated changing the way the COLA are calculated so the seniors are more likely to get annual raises. It is only the third time since 1975, when Congress enacted the automatic bumps, that Social Security payments will remain flat. All three times have come since 2010. Therefore, the current administration is not looking out for senior-citizens, and their survival.
It is objectionable that millions of senior citizens and disabled veterans will not be receiving a cost-of-living adjustment to keep up with their rising living expenses. This comes at a time when senior poverty is going up and more than two-thirds of the elderly population rely on Social Security for more than half of their income. The federal government model of tying increases in Social Security and SSI payments to a measurement that relies heavily on gas prices is more than slightly unfair, and many seniors do not drive. The belief they will see lower prices at places like the grocery store, because the products will be cheaper because the cost of gas is cheaper, is just speculative, but based on solid economics. The gas prices are always going up and down, and what will senior-citizens do if the gas goes up again after the first of the year? The answer: the budgets will become even harder and the senior poverty will continue to rise.
The Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustments appear to be a less generous part of a budget deal with President Barack Obama, according to CNN. The social Security Administration provides the COLA to ensure the benefits keep pace with inflation. Having no COLA is telling seniors and consumers that prices are not increasing and there is no inflation, but many individuals including seniors that have had to change their budget and their lifestyle just to survive. Is this what the Democrats have in store for the next presidential election? Are they really set on making more and more people live in poverty? Next year will tell if this is true or not. Without a COLA increase next year, Social Security and SSI recipients may turn to local human service agencies for additional help. Local agencies are already contending with no state aid as the state budget stalemate continues.