COLA (Cost of Living Increase) is intended to keep Social Security benefits in line with current costs. Unfortunately, this increase is not enough. While the annual adjustment is supposed to keep up with inflation, the amount increased each year is too small to make much of a difference in the true cost of living.
COLA Increase and Seniors
The Cost of Living adjustment has failed seniors for years. The problem is how the amount is determined. The increase is based on projected inflation rates. It does not, however, account for specific costs for seniors. While COLA increases may appear to be close to the estimated inflation rate overall, it does not take into account things like rising medical costs. For example, while COLA for 2020/2021 was 1.3%, drug prices went up an average of 5.17% in 2020. As of January 2021, 816 drugs had increased by an average of 4.5%. Additionally, Older Americans tend to have higher rates of medical issues, more doctor’s visits, and more frequent hospitalizations. Higher medical costs on top of increased costs across the board due to inflation put seniors at a disadvantage.
How Much is the Cost of Living Adjustment?
To really illustrate how little this increase is, let’s step away from percentages for a moment. It’s hard to visualize exactly what 1.3% means, but you can probably guess it’s not much. On average, the most recent increase would give seniors an extra $20 per month. This is not enough to pay one bill, and prices continue to go up. Clearly, something needs to change.
What Would Change Under The Greatest Generation Benefits Act?
Under this important piece of legislation that we are urging Congress to pass, seniors would get the increase they need. This plan includes an additional $85 per month for recipients over age 82. In addition, these same seniors would receive an ongoing 4 percent increase every year moving forward. This is the change so many of our great Americans need. Please help us make it a reality by signing our petition to Congress.