Seniors Beware: Deflation Hits Social Security

Here’s an interesting credit crisis byproduct: The 50 million current Social Security recipients probably won’t see any extra SS income until 2012. In fact, millions on the government dime might see their monthly checks shrink.

It all boils down to COLA — the government’s cost-of-living adjustment. Since consumer prices are — in theory, at least — deflating, the Social Security administration announced this weekend that they do not plan on a COLA for the next two years. Should that forecast come true, it’ll be the first time that’s happened since at least 1975, when automatic increases were first implemented.

Social Security and Cost of Living Adjustments

That will probably equate to a net monthly loss for millions of beneficiaries. Medicare prescription drug premiums are on track to bump up a few bucks next year — a major cost for most retirees. And until the Obama administration jams through their health care reform, medical expenses will continue to rise, as well. Who knows… they might go even higher after Obamacare. Either way, tens of millions of seniors are about to face stagnant income and rising monthly costs… could get politically interesting.

The Daily Reckoning