You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myDaytonDailyNews.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myDaytonDailyNews.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myDaytonDailyNews.com.

2.2M Ohioans to get Social Security raise next year


Millions of Social Security recipients and federal retirees will get a 0.3 percent increase in monthly benefits next year, the fifth year in a row that older Americans will have to settle for historically low raises.

There was no increase this year. Next year’s benefit hike will be small because inflation is low, driven in part by lower fuel prices.

The federal government announced the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, Tuesday morning. By law, the COLA is based on a government measure of consumer prices.

The COLA affects more than 70 million people — about 1 in 5 Americans. In Ohio, there are 2.2 million Social Security recipients.

The average monthly Social Security payment is $1,238. That translates into a monthly increase of less than $4 a month.

More bad news for seniors: Medicare Part B premiums, which are usually deducted from Social Security payments, are expected to increase next year to the point in which they will probably wipe out the entire COLA.

By law, the dollar increase in Medicare’s Part B premium cannot exceed a beneficiary’s cost-of-living raise. That’s known as the “hold harmless” provision, and it protects the majority of Medicare recipients.

But another federal law says that the Part B premium must raise enough money to cover one-fourth of expected spending on doctors’ services. That means that a minority of beneficiaries, including new enrollees and higher-income people, have to shoulder the full increase. Their premiums would jump.

Millicent Graves, a retired veterinary technician, says Medicare and supplemental insurance premiums eat up nearly a third of her $929 monthly Social Security payment. And don’t tell the 72-year-old from Williamsburg, Virginia, that consumer prices aren’t going up. She says her insurance premiums went up by $46.50 this year, and her cable TV, Internet and phone bill went up, too.

“I just lose and lose and lose and lose,” Graves said.

More than 60 million retirees, disabled workers, spouses and children get Social Security benefits. The COLA also affects benefits for about 4 million disabled veterans, 2.5 million federal retirees and their survivors, and more than 8 million people who get Supplemental Security Income, the disability program for the poor. Many people who get SSI also receive Social Security.

Since 2008, the COLA has been above 2 percent only once, in 2011. It’s been zero three times.

“This loss of anticipated retirement income compounds every year, causing people to spend through retirement savings far more quickly than planned,” said Mary Johnson of the Senior Citizens League. “Over the course of a 25- or 30-year retirement, it reduces anticipated Social Security income by tens of thousands of dollars.”

By law, the cost-of-living adjustment is based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W, a broad measure of consumer prices generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It measures price changes for food, housing, clothing, transportation, energy, medical care, recreation and education.

The COLA is calculated using the average CPI-W for July, August and September. If prices go up, benefits go up. If prices drop or stay flat, benefits stay the same.

The numbers for July and August suggest COLA of just 0.3 percent. The numbers for September are to be released Tuesday.

Some advocates complain that the government’s measure of inflation doesn’t reflect the costs many older Americans face.

For example, gasoline prices have fallen by nearly 18 percent over the past year, according to the August inflation report, while the cost of medical care has gone up by more than 5 percent.

For seniors who don’t drive much, they don’t get the full benefit of low gas prices, said Max Gulker, a senior research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. Many seniors, however, spend more of their income on health care.

Graves said she appreciates lower gas prices, but doesn’t drive much.

“I just have to rely more each month on cashing in investments,” Graves said. “I’m lucky I can do that.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Jury acquits Jackson Center police chief in sex case
Jury acquits Jackson Center police chief in sex case

A Shelby County Common Pleas Court jury found Jackson Center Police Chief Joseph Cotterman not guilty in one of two sex-related cases against him. The jury deliberated for four and a half hours before acquitting Cotterman of a gross sexual imposition charge stemming from a complaint filed by a 19-year-old woman in January 2016 with the Shelby County...
Springfield man charged in death also convicted in seperate murder
Springfield man charged in death also convicted in seperate murder

A Springfield man has been charged with the murder of a woman who’s bones were found in a wooded area in Greene County last May. Prentiss Hare, 35, has been indicted on charges of aggravated murder, murder, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse in connection with the death of Tiffany Chambers. RELATED: Man sentenced in Springfield...
Northeastern residents debate $100M school plan
Northeastern residents debate $100M school plan

Northeastern Local School District leaders say they want to make sure the community is educated on potential options for new schools that could cost more than $100 million before a scientific survey is launched in the coming months. Officials at Northeastern — the second largest school district in Clark County serving around 3,200 students &mdash...
Wright State selects 3 finalists for president’s job
Wright State selects 3 finalists for president’s job

Wright State has selected three finalists for its president’s job, but the search committee will not release the candidates’ names until they visit campus in February. The names will be announced at noon the day before each finalist visits campus, said Doug Fecher, trustee and chair of the search committee. The three-day visits will take...
Rivertown Brewing opens new Monroe taproom, restaurant
Rivertown Brewing opens new Monroe taproom, restaurant

Rivertown Brewing Company unveils its new $6 million Monroe facility Friday, Jan. 20, the next step in a rapidly expanding growth plan expected to continue well beyond 2017. Opening day for Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House at 6550 Hamilton-Lebanon Road comes a little more than seven years after founder Jason Roeper opened Rivertown Brewing’s...
More Stories