Social Security beneficiaries will see an increase of 3.6% in their checks beginning in December of this year.
This is the first increase since 2009 after which prices fell and the CPI-W index which Cost of Living Adjustments for social security are based upon was down year over year. Down, that is, until this year. The 3rd quarter of 2011 CPI-W results are up 3.6% above those in 3rd quarter of 2009 which is the trigger for an increase to the benefit payments. Month to month the September number was 0.3 percent more than the August figure.
This means that seniors who are getting $10,000 per year would receive an additional $360 dollars over the 12 months starting in December. Those who are paying Medicare monthly may see some of that new money go away as Medicare costs are increasing. Medicare cost increases are spread across the beneficiaries and while the Medicare increase won’t take away the entire social security “raise”, it is likely to be noticeable.
Energy prices are up this month but gasoline may be headed down if oil prices are an indication. Clothing prices were down about 1.1% and rental prices were up slightly.
The future for social security calculations is uncertain as the presidential race has made the subject of a sustainable social security system one of the most important election issues. Changes will eventually be made in some of the variables whether it is how the payments are calculated, what the retirement age is, what the taxable salary level is for social security, how much is paid out or any number of other possibilities.