Without any further ado, the news that many Social Security recipients have been eagerly awaiting has arrived: the cost of living adjustment (COLA) has finally been announced. As per reports, the programs for the elderly and disabled will see a cost-of-living increase of 3.2% in 2024.
The COLA increase, which is a result of the rising inflation rates in the US, was initially expected to be announced in October 2021. However, it was postponed to early January 2021 as part of the Getting America’s Families Ready for Retirement Act of 2021.
Knowing that the elderly and disabled depend heavily on Social Security benefits for their financial security, the boost in COLA is sure to prove a blessing in disguise. The extra money will help cover the rising prices of food, gas, housing, and healthcare, and lessen the burden of troublesome day-to-day expenses for many.
Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the 3.2% increase in COLA is still the lowest in the past 10 years. It is estimated to add an additional $39 to the average Social Security monthly payment of $1,274, for a total of $1,313. This is considerably lower than the 3.6% increase of 2020 and further below the peak of 5.8% witnessed in 2009.
Even with the expected increase, the US is unlikely to ease the growing financial concerns of its citizens any time soon. With the pooled Doctor Trust funds for Social Security already taking a hit, and with the rising government deficits, it will be a while before the program can alleviate the financial strain of all its recipients.
In conclusion, the 3.2% increase in the cost of living allowance is a welcome relief, considering the current economic climate in the US. Nonetheless, the COLA is still far below the highs of the past decade, meaning that many elderly and disabled Americans will still have to struggle to make ends meet.