Social Security Adjustment May Be Smaller Than Previously Estimated, Group Says

Social Security Adjustment May Be Smaller Than Previously Estimated, Group Says
Blank Social Security checks are run through a printer at the U.S. Treasury printing facility in Philadelphia, Pa., on Feb. 11, 2005. (William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

A seniors group said that Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) might be smaller for 2024 than previously estimated.

The Senior Citizen’s League said the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that the COLA, which will be announced later this year, will likely be around 2.7 percent. The previous estimate from the Senior Citizen’s League, released in May, was 3.1 percent.

“New consumer price data indicates that inflation is at its lowest level since March 2021. That was the start of our recent 40-year storm of two back-to-back years of historically high consumer prices. The Senior Citizens League now estimates that the Social Security cost of living adjustment 2024 could be 2.7 percent,” the league wrote in a report on Tuesday.

But the group said that surveys of older Americans show that have seen “little improvement in their household spending” so far, saying that inflation is still high for certain essential items.

“Sixty-two percent of survey participants report food costs as their fastest-growing cost. Housing costs are the biggest concern of 22 percent of survey respondents. The survey has 2,275 respondents through June 6, 2023,” according to the group, which describes itself as nonpartisan.

Last year, the Social Security Administration, the agency that oversees the payments to retired Americans, made an 8.7 percent COLA increase, representing the highest boost in decades. That was due to persistently high inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

Data released by the Department of Labor on Tuesday show that food prices and shelter are high compared to previous years. That’s with the Consumer Price Index rising just 0.1 percent for the month and 4 percent from a year ago.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve said it would not raise benchmark interest rates, the first time the central bank has not opted to do so in more than a year.

Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare policy analyst at the Senior Citizens League, told Fortune magazine at the time that it’s not clear what the 2024 COLA will be. The adjustment is based on inflation numbers for July, August, and September, she said.

“Since there are still five more months of data to come in, my estimate will change,” Johnson said in May. “The long-term inflation is still downward.”

The COLA affects about 70 million individuals who get Social Security payments, including seniors, disabled adults, low-income individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income, and survivors of insured workers.

The seniors’ group previously said that Social Security beneficiaries’ purchasing power has diminished greatly—or about 40 percent—since the year 2000. “That was the deepest loss in buying power since the start of this study in 2010. This year the study found that the loss of buying power slightly improved—by four percentage points—to 36 percent. However, that is still one of the deepest losses recorded by this study, exceeded only by the loss in 2022,” the group said last month.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
Related Topics