Annual increases in Social Security are made every year based on changes in a component of the consumer price index known as CPI-W (the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers). The index fell 0.4% in the period used by the government to calculate the annual increase in cost-of-living adjustment.
The CPI-W was pushed down mainly because of a fall in gasoline costs. However, seniors tend to drive less and not save as much because of cheaper gas.
What is important for seniors is food costs and those climbed throughout the period at a rate of 1.57%.
The extra benefits normally kick in on Jan. 1. Social Security recipients got a 1.7% cost-of-living adjustment in 2015, 1.5% in 2014 and 1.7% in 2013. The last time there was no increase was in 2010 and 2011.
Prior to 1975, Social Security benefit increases were set by legislation. Below are the annual adjustments since then.
|a The COLA for December 1999 was originally determined as 2.4 percent based on CPIs published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pursuant to Public Law 106-554, however, this COLA is effectively now 2.5 percent.|