White House Deletes Fact-Checked Tweet on Social Security COLA
The COLA adjustment is according to a formula pegged to inflation—the higher the inflation, the higher the adjustment.
Last month, the Social Security Administration announced an 8.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for recipients. That will give the average recipient a raise of $140 per month and marks the highest increase of its kind in 40 years.
“Medicare premiums are going down and Social Security benefits are going up in 2023, which will give seniors more peace of mind and breathing room. This year’s substantial Social Security cost-of-living adjustment is the first time in over a decade that Medicare premiums are not rising and shows that we can provide more support to older Americans who count on the benefits they have earned,” Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi said at the time.
The COLA adjustment is according to a formula pegged to inflation—the higher the inflation, the higher the adjustment. It wasn’t the result of any particular act by the Biden Administration.
But that hasn’t stopped the White House from taking credit for the increase.
“Seniors are getting the biggest increase in their Social Security checks in 10 years through President Biden’s leadership,” the official White House Twitter account said this week in a tweet that has since been deleted.
The tweet is factually inaccurate for a couple of reasons. First, the increase was tied to inflation and not any particular action related to “President Biden’s leadership.” Also, in what appears to be an addition against interest, the increase is the largest in 40 years, not 10.
CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale noted the deletion.
“The White House has deleted the tweet that credited ‘Biden's leadership' for the big 2023 hike in Social Security payments that is actually occurring because a decades-old law ties the payment level to the inflation level. Twitter had affixed a fact check.”
This week, Dale also noted that the president said that “on my watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are getting an increase in their Social Security checks.” This is not true; there was a significant increase this past January, as well as smaller ones during all four years of Donald Trump’s presidency. In most years, in a non-high-inflation environment, that COLA increase is by a small single-digit percentage.
Jeff Tiedrich, a Twitter user who often praises Democratic candidates, tweeted shortly after the COLA announcement in mid-October that “Democrats just increased your monthly Social Security check by 8.7%. Republicans want to abolish Social Security. any questions.”
“Democrats,” of course, did not increase the payments, which are determined by the COLA formula. And while many Republican candidates have commented about wanting to cut or otherwise change Social Security, none in the current cycle appeared to have called to “abolish” Social Security.
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.