Steeper prices for food, gasoline, medicine, and vehicles are squeezing the pocketbooks of millions of Americans. However, it appears that senior citizens are bearing the brunt of the inflation fallout. In the very worst of cases, some of the nation’s elderly are even being forced to choose between medicine and food.
With this in mind, there will surely be plenty of high anticipation this week as the government prepares to announce Social Security’s 2022 cost of living adjustment (COLA), which is expected to directly affect more than fifty million retirees.
According to the Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan senior group, COLA indeed will likely get a nice boost—perhaps as much as 6.1 percent. If that figure is reached, it would be the highest registered in nearly forty years. For comparison, last year, the Social Security COLA only came in at 1.3 percent, which only gave an average of $20 boost to the monthly Social Security checks.
“The estimate is significant because the COLA is based on the average of the July, August, and September CPI data,” Mary Johnson, a policy analyst for the Senior Citizens League, noted in a statement.
“With one-third of the data needed to calculate the COLA already in, it increasingly appears that the COLA for 2022 will be the highest-paid since 1983 when it was 7.4 percent,” she continued.
An increase of six-plus percent will surely be welcome news to many seniors, as Social Security Administration data currently indicate that approximately twenty percent of married couples and forty percent of singles receive at least ninety percent of their income from the Social Security program.
Calls for Stimulus Checks
The Senior Citizens League also has been busy calling for more targeted stimulus checks. According to its new petition, it is pressing Congress to approve without delay another round of stimulus checks that would issue $1,400 direct payments to only Social Security program beneficiaries.
“Social Security benefits are one of the few types of income in retirement adjusted for inflation. But soaring inflation has taken a toll on household finances of retired and disabled Social Security recipients,” the group contends in its petition, adding that it has already garnered more than one million signatures.
“In 2021, Social Security benefits increased by just 1.3 percent raising the average benefit by only about $20 a month. But about eighty-six percent of Social Security recipients surveyed say their expenses increased by much more than that amount. … I strongly urge you that now is the time that you must support an emergency $1,400.00 stimulus check to Social Security recipients,” it continues.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.