Nation's Nearly 50 Million Social Security Recipients To Get 2.3% Adjustment


Wednesday, October 17th 2007, 7:48 am
By: News On 6


WASHINGTON (AP) _ Come January, Social Security benefits for nearly 50 million Americans are going up 2.3%, the smallest increase in four years. It will mean an extra $24 per month in the average check, the government announced Wednesday.

The cost of living adjustment means that the monthly benefit for the typical retired worker in 2008 will go from $1,055 currently to $1,079 next year.

The adjustment, announced by the Social Security Administration, will go to more than 54 million Americans. Nearly 50 million receive Social Security benefits and the rest get Supplemental Security Income payments aimed at helping the poor.

The adjustment, announced by the Social Security Administration, will go to more than 54 million Americans. Nearly 50 million receive Social Security benefits and the rest get Supplemental Security Income payments aimed at helping the poor.

The 2.3% increase is the smallest since a 2.1% rise in 2004. It compares to an increase of 3.3% last year and a jump of 4.1% in 2006, which had been the biggest advance in 15 years.

The COLA is based on the change in consumer prices from the July-September quarter of this year compared to the same period last year. Benefit payments have been tied to inflation since 1975.

The big jump for 2006 occurred because energy prices had soared in September of 2005, reflecting the impact of Hurricane Katrina. This year, however, energy prices have been coming down in recent months after having spiked in the spring.

With oil prices surging this week to highs above $88 per barrel, analysts believe that consumers will get socked with higher gasoline prices and home heating oil costs in coming months, but those gains will come too late to influence the new cost-of-living adjustment.

In addition, food prices and medical prices have been rising rapidly this year. But those gains have been offset somewhat by a moderation in categories that the elderly tend to buy less of such as computers, consumer electronics and clothing.
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