Social Security Checks to Increase for Retired Americans in 2022
The 70 million Americans who receive Social Security benefits will soon be seeing larger checks, announced the Social Security Administration (SSA), which trumpeted the agency’s largest increase in four decades.
While last January, the SSA raised its cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) by 1.3%, which was considered one of the most meager increases in recent history, this year’s 5.9% boost is the administration’s largest increase since 1982.
Starting in January 2022, the average retired worker in the US will receive $75 to $92 more per month.
Approximately four in 10 American seniors rely on Social Security payments as their sole source of retirement income, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security.
In 2021, the typical monthly benefit stands at about $1,543, an amount that is just above the poverty line for a single person. A 5.9% COLA increase adds about $75 a month to that benefit.
The SSA’s larger benefits come on the heels of surging inflation, which has raised the cost of food, gas, consumer goods, and rent.
Inflation is causing some hard choices for seniors, said Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare policy analyst at the Senior Citizens League, who noted that she has about 200 letters from Social Security recipients who are experiencing different degrees of financial hardships.
"I have nothing but these grim stories," Johnson added. "Food is one of the main issues we are seeing. Once they pay their rent and electricity they don't have enough money to buy their groceries or their prescription drugs."
Although Social Security beneficiaries will receive sizable annual "raises" in January 2022, economic advocates are concerned that inflation will continues rise, at least for the next several months.
"There are a growing amount of estimates I'm seeing that inflation is going to continue into next year," said Johnson. "I would not foresee that an almost 6% COLA is going to restore buying power if inflation continues into 2022."