Millions of Social Security recipients and federal retirees will get a monthly increase in benefits of just 0.3 percent next year, the fifth year in a row that older Americans will have to settle for historically low raises.
There was no increase this year. Next year's benefit hike will be small because inflation is low, driven in part by lower fuel prices.
The federal government announced the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, Tuesday morning. By law, the COLA is based on a government measure of consumer prices.
The average monthly Social Security payment is $1,238. That translates into a monthly increase of less than $4 a month.The COLA affects more than 70 million people -- about 1 in 5 Americans.