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The Senior Citizens League Warns 2014 Cost of Living Adjustment Flat
Date:7/30/2013

Alexandria, VA (PRWEB) July 31, 2013

More than 62.6 million people who collect Social Security or benefits from other federal programs aren’t likely to see much growth in their payments next year. According to recent consumer price index (CPI) data through June, cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) will stay pretty flat. Based on inflation growth over the past twelve months, the 2014 COLA will be in the vicinity of 1.7% — the same percentage of increase that seniors received this year. That would raise average monthly benefits of $1,157 by just $19.70.

While that’s better than 2010 and 2011 when inflation was so low that no COLA was paid for two years in a row, it’s unlikely to cover seniors’ real cost increases. According to a survey performed by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups, 89% of respondents reported that the 1.7% COLA in 2013 increased benefits by less than $29 per month. On the other hand, almost the same number, 88%, reported that their total monthly expenses rose by more than $39. The majority of those people, 40%, said that their monthly costs rose by more than $119.

“This discrepancy between COLAs and real costs is squeezing senior households, under the current COLA law,” says TSCL Chairman Larry Hyland. Yet despite the grim statistics, members of both parties are proposing to cut COLA growth further. Congress is considering a proposal to use a more slowly-growing CPI, known as the “chained” consumer price index, to calculate annual COLAs. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that using the chained CPI would reduce Social Security benefits by more than $127 billion over the next ten years alone. The impact would reach far beyond Social Security recipients if applied to other COLA programs. Doing so would cut benefit
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