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Is Social Security Administration cost-of-living increase enough?

Long Island seniors and others who rely on Social Security benefit payments were likely glad to learn about the recent increase is benefit amounts. It was the first increase since 2009, reports say. The 3.6 percent provided comes in the form of a long-awaited cost-of-living adjustment.

But as many Long Island recipients are aware of, Social Security Administration benefit payments are not always sufficient to make ends meet each month. For those who have no other source of income, the prospects are indeed dim. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is designed to help cover the shortfall, but it too is not always enough.

The Social Security Administration bases its cost of living increases on a calculation from the Consumer Price Index (CPI). And the CPI determines the amount of money it takes for urban wage earners and clerical workers to pay for all of their living expenses.

Due to the economic downturn and the slow recovery in New York and the rest of the country, no increase in benefits was designated for the 2010 or 2011 fiscal years. Approximately 76 million Americans will become eligible for benefits over the next two decades. With the baby boomer generation reaching retirement age, the number of Americans over the age of 65 is increasing daily. This means that some 10,000 people per day will soon begin to qualify for Social Security benefits. In a time when every penny counts, those entitled to benefits would do well to fully investigate all of their rights in order to ensure they are aware of and qualify for all programs to which they may be entitled.

Source: Hi-Desert Star News, "Social Security raise falls short, recipients say," Leslie Shaw, Feb. 15, 2012

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