Preliminary Numbers Suggest Checks Will Be About 1.5 Percent More

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Social Security recipients are slated to receive only a small bump on their checks next year.

As 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported, preliminary figures suggest a benefit increase of roughly 1.5 percent, which would be among the smallest since automatic increases were adopted in 1975, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

Next year’s raise will be small because consumer prices, as measured by the government, haven’t gone up much in the past year.

“They should give the people a chance to bring themselves up to live a better life in this society,” Jenai, a Social Security recipient, told Schuck. “You pay into it all those years, and then everybody just stops and gives you what they want to. That’s not fair to the people.”

Roger said he just moved to New York City from St. Louis and plans to retire next week. When asked by Schuck if his expenses had gone up more than 1.5 percent, Roger said: “Oh, I think it’s gone up probably 10 percent. But if the money’s not there, it’s not there.”

Others, however, were sympathetic. Joe O’Day, of the Upper West Side, has been paying into Social Security since 1950 and said he still believes it is a good system.

“I appreciate whatever they do,” he said. “It’s still a good payback if you live long enough to collect it.”

The exact size of the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, won’t be known until the Labor Department releases the inflation report for September. That was supposed to happen Wednesday, but the report was delayed indefinitely because of the partial government shutdown.

The COLA is usually announced in October to give Social Security and other benefit programs time to adjust January payments. The Social Security Administration has given no indication that raises would be delayed because of the shutdown, but advocates for seniors said the uncertainty was unwelcome.

Social Security benefits have continued during the shutdown.

More than one-fifth of the country is waiting for the news.

Nearly 58 million retirees, disabled workers, spouses and children get Social Security benefits. The average monthly payment is $1,162. A 1.5 percent raise would increase the typical monthly payment by about $17.

The COLA also affects benefits for more than 3 million disabled veterans, about 2.5 million federal retirees and their survivors, and more than 8 million people who get Supplemental Security Income, the disability program for the poor.

Automatic COLAs were adopted so that benefits for people on fixed incomes would keep up with rising prices. Many seniors, however, complain that the COLA sometimes falls short, leaving them little wiggle room.

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