This chart shows the fastest-rising costs for Social Security beneficiaries
Lordhenrivoton | E+ | Getty Images
Higher prices have made it tough for Social Security beneficiaries to keep up, even with a file increase to benefits for 2023.
An 8.7% cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, put about $140 per thirty days extra in Social Security beneficiaries’ checks beginning in January, in keeping with estimates from the Social Security Administration.
Yet rising costs means beneficiaries have lost 36% of their buying power since 2000, in keeping with new analysis from The Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan senior group.
To be capable of dwell as effectively on Social Security advantages as in 2000, in the present day’s retirees would wish an additional $516.70 per thirty days, the nonpartisan senior group discovered.
High inflation ‘extraordinarily tough’ for retirees
Social Security COLAs have elevated by 78% since 2000, in keeping with The Senior Citizens League. At the similar time, the value of products and companies retirees usually purchase has gone up by 141.4% over that point.
COLAs have averaged 3.4% yearly since 2000, whereas items and companies have averaged about 6.2%.
This yr’s loss in shopping for energy — measured from January 2000 by way of February 2023 — improved from a 40% decline based mostly on final yr’s research. Yet the present 36% loss in shopping for energy remains to be certainly one of the deepest losses recorded, in keeping with the group.
Eggs topped the record of fastest-growing costs for seniors since 2000. Other classes in the prime 5 embody prescribed drugs, heating oil, dental companies and Medicare Part B premiums.
Eggs had been additionally the fastest-growing value for seniors over the previous yr, based mostly on knowledge by way of February, the analysis discovered. Recently, wholesale egg costs have dropped from record highs over the winter.
Other classes in the prime 5 for the yr included apples, white bread, espresso and dental visits.
“The common retiree has discovered dwelling with these excessive charges of inflation extraordinarily tough,” David Tinsley, senior economist at Bank of America Institute, recently told CNBC.com.
One caveat to a file excessive COLA this yr is that the more money may very well be prompting greater ranges of spending amongst older Americans, in keeping with research from Bank of America Institute.
While greater spending might complicate the battle towards greater inflation, it’s delayed reduction for older Americans, whose COLA was decrease than price growth in 2022.
The COLA for 2024 could also be decrease
The Social Security COLA could also be round 3.1%, in keeping with a brand new estimate from The Senior Citizens League, effectively under the 8.7% improve to advantages beneficiaries noticed in 2023, the highest improve in 4 a long time.
The 3.1% estimate for the COLA is preliminary and topic to alter, mentioned Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare coverage analyst at The Senior Citizens League.
The newest client value index knowledge shows inflation rose 4.9% over the previous yr as of April and 0.4% for the month — fueling hopes that inflation will proceed to say no this yr.
More from Personal Finance:
Here’s the inflation breakdown for April 2023, in one chart
Series I bonds still ‘attractive’ as rate falls to 4.3%, expert says
Retirement-savings gap may cost economy $1.3 trillion by 2040
The subset of the knowledge used to calculate the annual Social Security COLA — referred to as the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W — rose 4.6% over the previous 12 months and 0.6% for the month.
The Social Security Administration determines the annual COLA by evaluating third-quarter CPI-W knowledge for the present yr to the third quarter of the earlier yr. A value-of-living adjustment is put in place if there was a rise over the earlier yr. If there is no such thing as a improve, the COLA could also be zero.