Tags: Carr | Social | Security | COLA

Social Security COLA for 2013 Likely to Be Less Than Inflation

By    |   Friday, 21 Sep 2012 07:46 AM

For almost 40 years, Social Security benefit increases have been tied to changes in the rate of inflation. Changes in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) are used to determine the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security.

Based on preliminary data, the COLA for benefits beginning Jan. 1, 2013, should be about 1.4 percent.

CPI-W is not the inflation rate referred to in the headlines each month. This measure of inflation has been about 1.8 percent below the headline rate of inflation over the past two years. Using the more commonly cited inflation index would lead to a larger COLA.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which maintains all of the inflation data, has completed research that shows senior citizens spend money differently than does the average family measured by the CPI. The research indicates that seniors lose more buying power to inflation than the average household does.

Inflation is outpacing the COLA, and costs of everyday items like food, gas and utilities are growing faster than broad-based inflation indexes are. A COLA of 1.4 percent would certainly be welcomed by Social Security beneficiaries, but it would do little to help many seniors maintain their standard of living.

Reform is needed to save Social Security, but reforms must also address the reality that those who have become fully dependent on Social Security cannot keep up with the real cost of living. It complicates the debate, but recognizes the difficult challenges that compassionate conservatives must face.

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MichaelCarr
Reform is needed to save Social Security, but reforms must also address the reality that those who have become fully dependent on Social Security cannot keep up with the real cost of living.
Carr,Social,Security,COLA
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2012-46-21
Friday, 21 Sep 2012 07:46 AM
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