Social Security COLA Could be Wiped Out by Medicare Increase

Millions of retired people in the US could see any cost of living adjustment for Social Security benefits get wiped out due to rising Medicare premiums.

The Associated Press is reporting that it’s the first COLA since 2009 and would leave senior without a raise for the third straight year.

About 45 million people — one in seven in the country — receive both Medicare and Social Security. By law, beneficiaries have their Medicare Part B premiums, which cover doctor visits, deducted from their Social Security payments each month.

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When Medicare premiums rise more than Social Security payments, millions of people living on fixed incomes don’t get raises. On the other hand, most don’t get pay cuts, either, because a hold-harmless provision prevents higher Part B premiums from reducing Social Security payments for most people.

David Certner of AARP estimates that as many as three-fourths of beneficiaries will have their entire Social Security increase swallowed by rising Medicare premiums next year.

It’s a tough development for retirees who lost much of their savings when the stock market collapsed, who lost value in their homes when the housing market crashed and who can’t find work because the job market is weak or they are in poor health.

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“You just don’t have the words to say how much this impacts a person,” said Joyce Trebilcock, a retired legal secretary from Belle, Mo., a small town about 100 miles west of St. Louis.

Medicare rise could mean no Social Security COLA

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