If you’re a retired worker counting on Social Security to make ends meet, there’s good news and bad news about the size of your check in 2017.
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First, the good news: Benefits are going up.
Now, for the bad news: They aren’t going up by much.
Social Security benefits will increase just 0.3% in 2017. For the average retired worker, that means a raise of $5 a month – about enough to buy a grande latte at Starbucks.
Why so little? It all boils down to inflation. Or, more accurately, the lack thereof. The cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security is tied to the government’s Consumer Price Index, which tracks changes in how much Americans are paying for items ranging from food to fuel. The CPI has been depressed for some time. There was no COLA for Social Security benefits in 2016, and the inflation adjustments for the two years before that were small – 1.7% in 2015 and 1.5% in 2014.
Browne Taylor joined Kiplinger in 2011 and was a channel editor for Kiplinger.com covering living and family finance topics. She previously worked at the Washington Post as a Web producer in the Style section and prior to that covered the Jobs, Cars and Real Estate sections. She earned a BA in journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She is Director of Member Services, at the National Association of Home Builders.
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