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Social Security Announces Largest COLA in 40 Years

InflationThe Social Security Administration announced the largest COLA - Cost of Living Adjustment - in 40 years yesterday. 5.9%.

Social Security recipients get 5.9% increase, but rising prices will offset the boostSocial Security recipients get 5.9% increase, but rising prices will offset the boost

Social Security recipients will receive an annual cost of living adjustment of 5.9% next year, the largest increase since 1982, the Social Security Administration announced Wednesday. The spike will boost retirees' monthly payments by $92 to an estimated average of $1,657 for 2022."This would be the highest COLA that most beneficiaries living today have ever seen," said Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. But that doesn't mean they'll be able to go on a spending spree. The reason for the hike is because inflation is soaring too.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Recipients, like many of our adult children, will now receive a maximum of $841 a month. They are expected to be able to live on this amount - find housing, pay utilities, buy clothing and food, although they may also qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which is currently $250.00 per month for a single head of household, up from $190 in 2020. If an adult with autism lives in a group home, this amount typically goes to the group home provider. If the adult lives at home with family or in a private community setting, someone has to supplement the SSI - typically Mom and Dad.  In some cases, it's just Mom who provides the safety net (Kim raises her hand.) In other cases, it's Dad, or another family member. No matter, no one can truly live on SSI. 

Here are some of the increases:

Source: 7 Things That Are Getting More Expensive in 2021

Restaurants: 4%

Beef: 10%

Fresh Fruit: 5%

Home prices: 25%

Uber/Lyft: 40%

Used cars and trucks: 45%

Here's the rub, while the COLA is generous, the cost of living is far outpacing 6%. Take the used car industry. Most lower income folks buy a used car over a new car, and the prices are up a whopping 45%. Housing is up everywhere as demand is outstripping supply.  In my area in Connecticut, already one of the most expensive counties in the United States, prices are gone up 25% easily. Rentals have followed suit, a catastrophe for those who can not afford to own but need a place to live. The girls and I rent our small ranch, and I hope to heck my landlord doesn't jack up the rent come June of 2022. It keeps me up at night. My minivan is 11 years old, and I hope old Bessie stays on the road for another 5 years. Few people think about what it's going to take for our loved ones to survive while we age. Many of us changed or gave up careers to care of our children with autism.  Or we went to work for far less than our value. And we're getting older. Old. 

Anne Dachel writes magnificently about the crushing cost of autism and mental health changes on schools around the world. But what about the financial fallout for families, yours, mine?



Something never mentioned is that if you take your SS early, as I did, at 62, you can live tax free for 8 years until 70. At 70 you will need to take your RMD from your IRSs which will increase your income and subject al your SS to taxes. This works because SS is not taxed as long as your other income is below a certain amount. Which many times you can engineer.


Benedetta, is your property tax almost entirely for schools? It was where I used to live, and it went up 11 of the 13 years I lived there. You can probably get a decent idea of what kind of bonds are outstanding for your school district and if they're going to need to dig deeper into your wallet over the coming years. (I'm assuming you've already applied for whatever homestead/farmstead exemption your area may have.)

Gary Ogden

Every COLA since I started on Social Security has been sucked up by Medicare health insurance. Every penny.


Property taxes - will they go up do you think Anne?
If so, then I got to make some hard decisions.

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