Social Security is 87 years old. The program is now a senior citizen–along with more than 50 million Americans living in the United States.
Enacted in August 1935 and drafted by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Social Security was originally part of the New Deal.
The idea was to pay financial benefits to retirees over 65 based on lifetime payroll contributions. The Social Security Administration (SSA) would also serve as a federal safety net of sorts for unemployed and disadvantaged Americans, as well.
Social Security benefits get annual cost-of-living adjustments referred to as cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs). The annual Social Security COLA is based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Works (CPI-W) from the prior year’s third quarter.
As most of you are painfully aware, inflation is higher than it has been in 40 years. Monthly SSA COLA checks increase when inflation is high. In 2022, COLA benefits went up by 5.9 percent for about 70 million Americans.
The typical retiree’s benefits went from $90 to a little more than $1600 a month. But not everyone saw their actual checks increase because Medicare Part B premiums jumped almost 13 percent this year.
Next year, Social Security COLAs are getting an 8.7 percent bump. Not the highest increase in history but definitely a new 41-year record breaker. In 1981, COLAs increased by more than 11 percent.
And more money could be on the way to seniors with Medicare Part B. Most of the Medicare increases this year were because of the Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm. Now that the cost of that drug was lowered and Medicare limited coverage, Part B premiums should get adjusted downward in 2023. That, coupled with COLA increases, could really help seniors on a fixed income.
As an estate planning attorney and a former state senator, I know how much this money means to older folks who couldn’t save as much as they would have liked to over the years for retirement. According to the Social Security Administration, 12 percent of men and 15 percent of women rely on Social Security for more than 90 percent of their retirement incomes.
So, you can bet seniors across America are feeling a little less pressure and breathing a sigh of relief as they look forward to that increase in the New Year. As our senior population grows, Seniors Across America will be working with the federal government and Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., to protect and support older folks who could use a helping hand in their twilight years.
John Grant, a former state representative and state senator, an estate planning attorney, and a member of the National Senior Citizen Hall of Fame, has spent much of his career working on behalf of seniors. John is continuing the advocacy work by heading Seniors Across America to continue speaking up for our elderly population.
View the Florida Daily article here.