Security Recipients to get 3.6 Percent COLA
Increase in 2012;
Increase Woefully Insufficient; Seniors have
lost almost one-third of their buying power
19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/
-- The Social
Security Administration announced this morning that
seniors will receive a 3.6 percent increase in their
checks beginning in January 2012.
That increase represents the first time
seniors will see a bump in their checks
in three years. For the past two years,
seniors received no COLA – the first
time that has happened since the
introduction of the automatic Cost of
Living Adjustment (COLA) in 1975.
Seniors have continued to lose buying power over the
last decade, a result of shrinking COLAs and increasing
expenses that have outpaced the COLA. A study released
by The Senior Citizens League earlier this year found
that seniors have lost 32 percent of their buying power
"Although a 3.6 percent COLA increase might sound impressive
on paper, it neglects the sad truth that seniors have
lost almost one-third of their buying power since 2000,"
Hyland, chairman of The Senior Citizens League (TSCL).
"As millions of seniors know too well, this increase is
little more than a small band aid on top of an
Making matters worse, a Congressional
deficit reduction "super committee" has been
tasked with finding$1.2
cuts – and they are considering a plan to
shrink future Social Security COLAs even
further. The cuts would come by changing the
index used to determine the annual COLA.
The current index, the Consumer Price Index for Workers
(CPI-W), is a fairer and more adequate measure of
inflation than the chained CPI, but the super committee
is considering replacing it with the more slowly-growing
chained CPI anyway. Since the chained CPI is sometimes
significantly lower than the CPI-W, it would result in
smaller checks for seniors.
As an example, next year's increase of 3.6 percent was
calculated using the CPI-W; it would be just 2.7 percent
if the government used the chained CPI. TSCL recently
released a study that found that the chained CPI would
cut the growth in average benefits of $1,100 today
by $18,634 over
the course of a 25-year retirement.
"Congress will try to sell any future cuts by saying
they're tiny – but they add up to thousands of dollars
over the course of a retirement," said Shannon
Benton, TSCL Executive Director. "We oppose any
changes to the index used to calculate the Social
Security COLA, which are nothing less than backdoor
attempts to slash checks."
With 1.2 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League
is one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors
groups. Its mission
is to promote and assist members and supporters, to
educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and
freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the
benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The
Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of The
Retired Enlisted Association. Visit www.SeniorsLeague.org for
SOURCE The Senior Citizens League