How well does the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) protect the buying power of Social Security benefits? Not very, according to early online results of TSCL’s 2018 Senior Survey.
Retiree household spending rose by more than $119 per month in 2017 for a majority, 39 percent, of all online participants. Yet despite receiving a 2% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in January — the highest in 5 years — 94 percent of survey participants said their COLA raised monthly benefits by less than $45.
The survey question asked:
“Which of the following most closely represents the amount that your total monthly expenses increased or decreased during 2017?”
Expenses stayed the same or went down: 6%
$.01 - $39.00: 11%
$39.01 - $79.00: 24%
$79.01 - $119.00: 20%
More than $119.00: 39%
This trend has been consistent over the past five years. Since 2014, the majority has said that their household budgets grew by more than $119 per month over the prior 12-month period. In every year, however, the majority of survey participants also said that their actual COLA increase was far below this level of increased costs.
Tell others about this issue affecting retirees, by sharing these statistics in letters to the editor, or at your next town hall!
Source: The Senior Citizens League 2018 Senior Survey.