For the first time since 1975, more than 57 million Americans will not automatically get a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for increase for 2010. The Social Security Act provides that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits increase automatically each year if there is an increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of the last year to the third quarter of the current year. This year there was no increase in the CPI-W from the third quarter of 2008 to the third quarter of 2009. In addition, because there was no increase in the CPI-W this year, under the law the starting point for determinations regarding a possible 2011 COLA will remain the third quarter of 2008. For more information on changes in Social Security in 2010, click here.
In conjunction with the announcement for no increase for COLA, President Obama announced his support for an additional $250 Economic Recovery Payment to the seniors, veterans and people with disabilities who are struggling to make ends meet with retirement savings that have not fully recovered from their losses over the first year of the recession.
“Social Security is doing its job helping Americans maintain their standard of living,” Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security said. “Last year when consumer prices spiked, largely as a result of higher gas prices, beneficiaries received a 5.8 percent COLA, the largest increase since 1982. This year, in light of the human need, we need to support President Obama’s call for us to make another $250 recovery payment for 57 million Americans.”