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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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Social Security recipients could see their biggest raise in years

Social Security recipients could see their biggest raise in years

Good news for those who are collecting Social Security: Your monthly checks likely will be bigger next year.

The Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan senior advocacy organization, forecasts benefits will jump by 2.8 percent in 2019 – which would be the largest increase in seven years.

If that does not change between now and October, that will be the highest bump retirees have seen in recent years.

The Social Security Administration generally announces its cost-of-living adjustment in October.

The forecast is slightly down from the group’s previous forecast of 3 percent, but would still boost the average beneficiary’s check by $39 per month – and raise the current maximum benefit collected by someone who retires at full retirement age by about $78 per month.

The cost of living adjustment was 2 percent in 2018, or $26 per month on average, but was perceived to be offset by increases in Medicare costs. Medicare Part B premiums are projected to increase by about $1.50 a month to $135.50 per month in 2019.

The 2018 Social Security benefits increase followed a 0.3 percent rise in 2017 and no increase in 2016.

Cost-of-living adjustments are aimed at ensuring that benefits keep up with inflation.

The trade-off, of course, is the same rising levels of inflation that produce larger increases to Social Security benefits also end up forcing recipients to pay more for the essential goods that they need.

But when the costs of the things that you need as an older American always seem to go up regardless of what government inflation figures say – especially in areas such as health care – then getting a boost to your Social Security is at least a bit of a consolation.