With fall comes the Social Security Administration’s announcement of the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the next year, designed to keep Social Security recipients’ benefits adjusted to inflation.
As one of the nation’s most relied upon social programs, Social Security undergoes yearly changes to provide for more than 46 million retired Americans.
With speculation and concern that COVID-19 could result in no COLA for 2021, the Social Security Administration announced a 1.3% benefit increase, or approximately $20 extra each month.
Despite the low percentage compared to past years, in fact tied for the second-lowest positive increase, there is a proposed plan within the House of Representatives to institute an emergency 3% increase as a result of the virus.
Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and John Larson (D-Conn.) believe the 1.3% adjustment provides no security for the pressures that retirees are experiencing during the pandemic.
“Seniors are seeing a rise food, medical, housing costs and more, and a 1.3% COLA is just not enough during these difficult times,” said Larson.
Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, believes the increase does not provide enough with drug costs continuing to rise.
“The coronavirus pandemic is also hitting many seniors hard,” Fiesta said. “At least 16% of seniors who work have lost their job due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning Social security is a larger portion of their income.”
Coupled with the economic implications of the pandemic, the future of Social Security has become a worrisome concern with a possible drop in funding.