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The survey found that a person having the national average Social Security benefit in 2000 -- $816 per month -- would have $1,169.80 per month by 2016. However, because retiree costs are rising at a substantially faster pace than the COLA, that individual would require a Social Security benefit of $1,517.80 per month in 2017 just to maintain his or her 2000 level of buying power.
The study examined the increase in costs of 39 key items between 2000 and January 2017.
The items were chosen because they are typical of the costs that most Social Security recipients must bear. Of the 39 costs analyzed, 26 exceeded the percentage of increase in the COLA over the same period. The selected items represent eight categories, weighted by approximate expenditure. The study used the same weightings that the government uses in calculating the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly. "This study illustrates why Congress should enact legislation to provide a more fair and adequate COLA," Johnson says. "To put it in perspective, for every $100 worth of expenses seniors could afford in 2000, they can afford just $70 today," Johnson adds.
A majority of the 57 million senior and disabled Americans who receive Social Security depend on it for at least 50 percent of their total income, and one -- third of all beneficiaries rely on it for 90 percent or more of their income. To help protect the buying power of benefits, TSCL supports legislation that would base COLAs on the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). To learn more, visit www.SeniorsLeague.org
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