Retirees beware: 2017 could prove to be the second consecutive year of stagnant Social Security benefits.
The latest estimates from the board of trustees overseeing the Social Security and Medicare trust funds show that Social Security benefits are expected to increase by 0.7 percent at best and zero percent at worst next year.
This type of annual increase is technically known as a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA. It’s intended to ensure benefits keep pace with inflation.
COLA amounts are based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, which is maintained by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Social Security benefits received in January will be the first affected by the 2017 COLA.
If no increase is made for next year, it will be the second consecutive year of no boost. Even if the maximum estimated increase of 0.7 percent is made for 2017, it will still be one of the smallest in recent years.
The COLAs received by Social Security beneficiaries each of the past five years were:
- 2016: No increase
- 2015: 1.7 percent increase
- 2014: 1.5 percent increase
- 2013: 1.7 percent increase
- 2012: 3.6 percent increase
The news of another potentially lackluster COLA comes less than one month after the release of the latest annual report from the board of trustees who oversee the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. That report did not bear good news either.
According to the annual report, the Social Security trust fund for old-age benefits is projected to deplete its reserves by 2034, while the Social Security trust fund for disability insurance benefits is projected to deplete its reserves by 2023.
If you’re worried about your benefits, check out “14 Ways to Get Bigger Checks From Social Security.”
To obtain a personalized report on claiming your Social Security benefits, check out “Maximize Your Social Security.”
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