If the CPI-W stays where it is throughout the pivotal summer months, then it would result in a 3.1% COLA for 2022. That’d be the biggest jump in Social Security payments since the 3.6% rise that recipients got at the beginning of 2012 — and that followed two years during which there was no benefit increase at all.
Meanwhile, if inflation keeps rising, COLAs could be even higher. There’s a lot of time between now and the September inflation report that will come out in mid-October.
High COLAs aren’t necessarily good
More money is always helpful for those on fixed incomes, but the real question is whether retirees will end up feeling an outsize pinch from the higher costs that are driving up inflation. For those hoping to travel, higher prices for transportation and hotels could crimp budgets. Even the somewhat smaller increases in other key areas could eat up check increases quickly.
Nevertheless, if higher prices are here, then the least Social Security can do is to fulfill its promise to try to keep up. A super-sized COLA might help cushion the blow at least somewhat for retirees who rely on the benefit program.
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