10.16.12

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The 2013 Social Security COLA Announcement

[Today (Tuesday) the Social Security Administration announced that monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 62 million Americans will rise 1.7 percent in 2013.  Beginning in January, Social Security beneficiaries will receive, on average, $21 more per month ($252 per year) as a result of the cost-of-living increase.  Cost-of-living increases have averaged about four percent, but in the last three years there have been two years with no increase and one year – this year – with a smaller-than-average increase of 3.6 percent.  Only five times has the cost-of-living adjustment been less than two percent.   Next year’s small increase highlights the need to accurately measure the spending patterns of seniors and those relying on Social Security so the annual increases can help offset the actual rising prices on the goods and services seniors typically need and buy.  Senator Leahy is a cosponsor of a bill to direct the Bureau of Labor Statistics to use a better measure of inflation when calculating the annual adjustment (S.1876)].

“Social Security is an immensely important program that has kept seniors, disabled workers, spouses and children out of poverty.  Unfortunately the small cost-of-living increase announced for next year falls short of accurately recognizing the real-life costs and challenges facing seniors and others who rely on Social Security payments make ends meet.  We need to work together to change the way these annual cost-of-living adjustments are calculated to ensure that they adequately address seniors’ basic needs.”

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