Thursday, 21 November, 2019

Modest raise coming to those on social security

Joe Schiavone 81 is seen in his home in West Melbourne Fla. Schiavone will get a modest cost-of-living increase from Social Security for 2020,a political year in which many Democrats are calling for a boost in basic benefit Social Security Checks Get Modest 1.6% COLA Boost for 2020
Russell Knight | 11 October, 2019, 16:36

The Social Security administration announced that benefit checks will receive a modest 1.6% cost-of-living-adjustment for 2020, quite a bit less than the COLA bumps from the past two years.

Retirees who entered military service on or after August 1, 1986 and opted-in for the Career Status Bonus (CSB/Redux retirement plan), have any COLA increases reduced by 1 percent, so they will see a smaller increase in 2020.

"Social Security's annual COLA amount typically does not keep pace with all the increases in living expenses that most seniors face, including the costs of housing, food, transportation and, especially, health care and prescription drugs", AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said in a statement referring to cost of living adjustments. For many experts, policymakers, and seniors, it's not enough.

The Social Security Administration is making a change that will affect almost 69 million Americans now benefiting from Social Security and Supplemental Security Income.

Analysis of the COLA equation has been intensified by Democratic presidential applicants and congressional Democrats. But economists are concerned that costs are rising at a much faster rate than the purchasing power of Social Security benefits.

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Joe Schiavone, who retired from flooring sales and lives on Florida's Space Coast, says it feels like he's not keeping up.

"My biggest concern is that your money is buying less and less", said Schiavone, who's in his early 80s. "The figure that they use for the rise in the cost of living to me is very erroneous".

Cost-of-living adjustments, which were implemented more than 40 years ago, are meant to counteract the effects of inflation. "None of the jobs I worked on in my life had any sort of pension or 401 (k) plans", he said. "I very rarely believe what anybody says in a campaign", Schiavone said. "I truly don't have the foggiest idea what to accept".

The average social security adjustment was 1.4% in the past decade. There is no limit on earnings for workers who are in "full" retirement age or older for the entire year. Presently, Democrats are intending to recover more established voters.

On the COLA, Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are proposing to use a measure of inflation that reflects expenses for households headed by a person 62 or older. Those who pay into Social Security on wages will also see the maximum income cap threshold rise to $137,700 from $132,900 for their 7.65% tax (or 15.3% if self-employed). In Congress, a major Social Security overhaul from Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., would also switch to a new inflation measure.

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