Retirees will receive a 0.3 percent increase in their Social Security checks in 2017, the smallest ever put in place to help cover higher prices, the Social Security Administration said on Tuesday.
The average retiree’s monthly benefit is currently $1,305.30. That will increase by about $3.92.
The cost-of-living adjustment, also known as COLA, is tied to inflation moves. There was no increase for 2015-2016 due to the dampening effects on inflation from falling oil prices.
The rate is determined by averaging together third-quarter inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).
The average annual raise since the United States exited recession in 2009 has been 1.2 percent.
The same 0.3 percent increase will be applied to those receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits, which is designed for the elderly and people with disabilities.
More than 65 million people will benefit from the increase, the Social Security Administration said in a statement.
Retirees’ benefits can be higher than average depending upon their earning history and how old they were when they began drawing checks.
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The maximum benefit today for someone retiring at full retirement age is $2,639 a month. Even that larger benefit check will grow by just $7.92 next year.
“Over the last five years, Social Security COLA’s have remained small or nonexistent,” AARP said in a news release. “Every cent can matter to beneficiaries and their families. After last year’s zero COLA, this year’s announcement doesn’t offer much help to the millions of families who depend on their Social Security benefits.”
Retirees also spend a bigger proportion of their money on health care.
“As prescription prices skyrocket and Medicare premiums and other health costs increase, many older Americans have understandable concerns,” AARP said.