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Social Security cost-of-living adjustment could be 3.1% for 2024


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Inflation rose 4.9% in April from a year ago, less than expectations

Benefits’ buying power dropped 36% since 2000

The Senior Citizens League also evaluated how well Social Security benefits have kept up with rising costs and found they have fallen short.

Over the past year amid persistent high inflation, eggs were the fastest-growing cost for seniors, based on the group’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data through February. Other categories that landed in the top five fastest growing costs include apples, bread, coffee and dental visits.

Since 2000, Social Security benefits have lost 36% of their buying power, according to The Senior Citizens League’s calculations.

To be able to live as well on Social Security benefits as beneficiaries did in 2000, today’s retirees would need an extra $516.70 per month, the nonpartisan senior group found.

The updated analysis of the loss in buying power — measured from January 2000 through February 2023 — improved from a 40% decline found in last year’s study. Yet the slightly improved 36% loss in buying power is still one of the deepest losses recorded, according to the group’s analysis.

Eggs also topped the list of fastest-growing costs for seniors since 2000. Other categories in the top five include prescription drugs, heating oil, dental services and Medicare Part B premiums.

One caveat to a record high cost-of-living adjustment this year is the extra money — estimated to be more than $140 per monthmay help prompt higher levels of spending among older Americans, according to research from Bank of America Institute.

While higher spending may complicate the fight against higher inflation, it is delayed relief for older Americans, whose cost-of-living adjustment was lower than price growth in 2022.

“The average retiree has found living with these high rates of inflation extremely difficult,” David Tinsley, senior economist at Bank of America Institute, previously told CNBC.com.

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