Social Security recipients may not get COLA raises

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 25, 2015

Social Security recipients should brace themselves for some bad news: Jan. 1 likely won’t bring a cost-of-living increase, reported.

The Social Security Administration has provided for Cost of Living Adjustments, or COLAs, since 1973 in order for benefits to keep pace with inflation. In 2015, SSI beneficiaries received a 1.7 percent COLA but 2016 looks like it will be only the third year – 2010 and 2011 were the others – where benefits won’t increase.

COLAs are calculated based on increases in what’s known as the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers , or CPI-W. CPI-Ws are calculated on a monthly basis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The calculations look at the third quarter of 2015 compared to the same time period in 2014 and a lack of inflation in that time – due mainly to a drop in oil prices – translates into the likelihood that SSI recipients won’t see any increases.

2015’s increase translated to $22 a month, from $1,306 to $1,328 for the typical SSI recipient.

The Social Security Administration hasn’t officially announced it won’t increase 2016 payments. That announcement is expected in late October.