Social Security benefits rising in 2019, biggest hike in 7 years

Irving Hamilton
October 12, 2018

HHS Secretary Alex Azar on efforts to reduce drug prices, the opioid epidemic and preparations for the upcoming flu season. Certain other federal benefits, such as military retiree payouts, are also automatically boosted by that decision. The COLA for 2019 is 2.8% according to the official announcement released by the Social Security Administration this morning.

The cost-of-living increases are based on current and anticipated rates of inflation. The 2.8 percent increase would tack on an additional $472 a year, or $39 per month, to those benefits.

Senior advocacy groups hailed the increase but said it still wasn't enough to cover the living costs of older Americans. Advocates for seniors claim the inflation index doesn't accurately capture costs faced by seniors, especially health care. "That is why we need to strengthen and expand Social Security with COLAs that reflect the real expenses seniors face".

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"So many veterans rely on disability compensation payments to make ends meet, and this cost-of-living adjustment means that they will be able to continue to do so", he said in a statement. Medicare Part B premiums are projected to increase by about $1.50 to $135.50 per month in 2019. U.S. President Barack Obama recently stated that he can't guarantee retirees will receive their Social Security checks in August if the House and Senate cannot reach an agreement on reducing the deficit.

More than 66 million Americans collected monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits this year.

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