Monday, November 20, 2017

Social Security benefit increase in 2013 expected to be small

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WASHINGTON — Social Security recipients shouldn't expect a big increase in monthly benefits come January.

Preliminary figures show the annual benefit boost will be between 1 percent and 2 percent, which would be among the lowest since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975.

Monthly benefits for retired workers now average $1,237, meaning the typical retiree can expect a raise of between $12 and $24 a month. The benefits go to 56 million people.

The size of the increase will be made official Tuesday, when the government releases inflation figures for September.

The cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is tied to a government measure of inflation adopted by Congress in the 1970s. It shows that consumer prices have gone up by less than 2 percent in the past year.

"Basically, for the past 12 months, prices did not go up as rapidly as they did the year before," said Polina Vlasenko, an economist at the American Institute for Economic Research, based in Great Barrington, Mass.

This year, Social Security recipients received a 3.6 percent hike in benefits after getting no increase the previous two years.

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