If you’re expecting a raise in retirement next year, forget about it. CNBC is reporting that your Social Security check will likely not increase in 2017.
And if there is a cost-of-living adjustment, commonly referred to as COLA, it will be be a meager 0.7 percent. This is bad news for recipients, many of whom had been led to believe that the COLA increase could be as much as 3 percent for 2017. Social Security also pays benefits to disabled workers and young survivors.
Blame low inflation for the disappointment. The Board of Trustees of the Social Security Trust Funds bases its COLA adjustments on increases in the consumer price index
“It’s scary for seniors on fixed income,” Paul Auslander, director of financial planning at ProVise Management Group told CNBC. “People are resigned to it being what it is: They’re not getting an increase and they’re cutting expenses in other places.”
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The average monthly retirement check is $1,300, yet 61 percent of those 65 and over said that sum accounted for at least half of their income.
This isn’t the first time Social Security checks have failed to go up. Last year recipients didn’t get a bump in their checks either and beneficiaries also saw a zero increase in 2010 and 2011. In past years, COLA raises have ranged from 11.2 percent in 1981, when inflation was rampant, to 1.3 percent in 1999.
Adjustments take effect every January for the more than 60 million retirees and other recipients of Social Security benefits.