After the latest announcement of massive inflation—this time, to 9.1 percent, the highest number in forty years—there’s another new estimate of a record number for the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA).
Prior to the June number, The Senior Citizens League had projected an 8.6 percent COLA increase for Social Security next year. But after the release of the June number, that number has gone into the double digits. The Senior Citizens League has said that a high COLA increase isn’t necessarily good news for seniors, since inflation is hard to keep up with and many senior citizens are struggling with the higher prices.
“Based on new [Consumer Price Index] CPI-W data through June, it appears the COLA for 2023 will be 10.5%,” said Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare policy analyst with The Senior Citizens League said, per 401K Specialist magazine. “If inflation runs ‘hot’ or higher than the recent average, the COLA could be 11.4%,” Johnson added. “If inflation runs ‘cold’ or lower than the recent average, the COLA could be 9.8%.”
Per CNBC, the COLA data is calculated based on the average third-quarter data in the previous year, compared to the year before that. The increase in January of 2022 was 5.9 percent, the highest COLA increase since the early 1980s. “Some people are just getting into some real bad situations,” Johnson said earlier this spring. “The problem is when living on fixed income, it’s not like you can go out and get a part-time job, because many seniors often retired because of health problems or other issues.”
In May, Johnson called this year’s situation “the deepest loss in buying power since the beginning of this study by The Senior Citizens League in 2010.” However, there is hope that recent rate hikes by the Federal Reserve could slow inflation down.
In other Social Security news, top House progressives, led by Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), are pushing their colleagues to get moving on one of the proposed Social Security reform packages: Rep. John Larson’s Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust, as reported by The Hill. “Since the advent of Social Security, Democrats have worked steadfastly for nearly a century to build on that landmark achievement and create a more just society, guaranteeing a life of dignity to our seniors,” the letter in support of the bill said. “Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust upholds this tradition.”
That is not to be confused with the Social Security Expansion Act, the one backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Senate and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) in the House. It’s not clear if either package has a chance to pass in the current Congress.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.