Monthly Social Security benefits for nearly 64 million Americans will increase 1.7 percent next year, or about $22 more each month per retiree, to match consumer price increases, the Social Security Administration announced Wednesday. The Labor Department reported Wednesday that inflation has risen by 1.7 percent in the 12 months ending in September.
In 2015, the average retired worker will receive $1,328 a month, or $15,936 a year. More than 58 million Social Security beneficiaries will receive the cost-of-living adjustment on checks received in January 2015. Another 8 million will receive increased payments on Dec. 31, 2014.
The annual increase is up from this year’s 1.5 percent increase, but less than 2012’s increase of 3.6 percent.
The Social Security Act tethers the annual cost-of-living amounts to the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index, for which the Labor Department released September data on Wednesday. Other increases each January are tied to the increase in average wages.
Food prices are increasing the most rapidly, followed by housing costs, burdening retirees who don’t own their homes. And though gasoline prices have fallen more than 3 percent over the year, senior citizens who don’t commute to work benefit less than the average person from the decrease. Nearly 10 percent of those age 65 and older live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.