Social Security COLA, How Much Will You Get?

Watch your mail!  The Social Security Administration is mailing out “Your New Benefits Amount” statements that detail how much you will be getting in your 2022 Social Security checks.  With a cost-of-living adjustment of 5.9% you should wind up with a little more this year.  Maybe enough to get through the month without cutting groceries.  Or enough to cover (part of) a worrisome rent increase.

But the standard monthly Medicare Part B premium increase from $148.50 to $170.10 ($21.60) will take an exceptionally large chunk of your cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) this year.  Your effective COLA, after deducting for Part B premiums will be less than 5.9% and, depending on the size of your monthly Social Security check, may be a lot less.  Those with the lowest benefits won’t see as much left over.

Here are some examples:

As so many of you point out in your emails, even a 5.9% COLA won’t come close to keeping up with your actual cost increases.  According to consumer price data through November 2021, inflation was up 6.8%, already exceeding the COLA by nearly a whole percentage point.  Even more troubling, the annual adjustment doesn’t fully account for any increase in the Medicare premium.  The COLA is calculated using the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which surveys costs of goods and services used by younger working adults who spend a significantly lower portion of their income on healthcare than do older adults.  Even worse, the CPI-W only includes the costs of households with people who are still working and under the age of 62.  Most people don’t even qualify for Medicare until age 65.

How much did you wind up with?  Please take our annual Senior Survey and let us know: