Social Security’s (SSA = Social Security Administration) more than 60 million beneficiaries are projected at this point to receive a tiny 0.2 percent cost-of-living adjustment next year, while some Medicare recipients could see steep premium increases. That’s according to the annual trustees reports released June 22 about the financial health of Social Security and Medicare.
The long-term outlook for Social Security old-age and disability benefits, taken together, remains the same as a year ago, with promised benefits payable until 2034 and then, without changes to the law, 79 percent of promised benefits payable through 2090.
Meanwhile, the trust fund that finances Medicare’s hospital coverage is fully funded until 2028, two years less than projected a year ago.
During a press conference, U.S. Treasury Secretary and managing trustee Jacob J. Lew urged Congress to
“not wait until the eleventh hour to address the fiscal challenges given that they represent the cornerstone of economic security for seniors in our country.”
Social Security annually weighs whether to give beneficiaries a cost-of-living adjustment based on the inflation rate during the third quarter of the year compared to the last year a COLA was awarded. Beneficiaries didn’t receive a COLA for 2016 because the inflation rate had fallen, the third time since 2010 they didn’t get a bump in payments.
The 0.2 percent COLA that the trustees project for 2017 could yet change with inflation. The final word will come in October 2016.
The small COLA now projected for 2017 would still have an impact on Part B premiums. The report estimates that standard premiums for most of those in the 30 percent not currently held harmless would jump by $27.20 to $149.00 a month next year.
The other 70 percent would pay $107.60 a month in 2017, that’s $2.70 more than they pay now, according to the nonprofit National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
You can see how COLA is calculated by reading the article at Social Security SSA website.
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