Social Security cost-of-living adjustment could be at least 6% in 2022

  • The Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2022 could be 6% to 6.1%, according to one new estimate.
  • That is down from 6.2% projected last month, as new Consumer Price Index data released on Tuesday signals cooling inflation.
  • Still, the prospective increase to monthly benefit checks next year could be the highest it has been since 1982.

The Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2022 could be 6% to 6.1%, according to the latest estimate from The Senior Citizens League, a non-partisan senior group, based on new Consumer Price Index data released Tuesday.

The Social Security Administration typically announces the cost-of-living adjustment for the following year in late October. One more month of CPI data will be released and factored into the final calculation.

The Social Security COLA is calculated based on a particular set of data, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W.

The Senior Citizens League's latest estimate comes amid forecasts of a possible 6.2% COLA in August, a 6.1% adjustment in July and a 5.3% boost in June.

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The higher estimates were due to rising inflation.

The CPI for August increased 5.3% compared to one year ago, according to data released on Tuesday, while economists had estimated 5.4%. The fact that consumer prices did not rise as much as expected was seen as a sign inflation may be starting to cool.

However, The Senior Citizens League's latest estimate continues to point to the highest COLA in decades.

The Social Security COLA in 2021 was 1.3%. For the average retirement benefit, that amounted to $20 more per month for a total of $1,543.

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