WASHINGTON — Social Security checks will rise by 1.7 percent — which translates into $22 more each month for the average retired worker.
In 2015, the average worker will receive $1,328 a month, or $15,936 a year, according to the Social Security Administration. More than 58 million recipients will see the bump in their checks starting in January.
Next year’s annual cost of living increase is up from 1.5 percent this year, but still less than 2012’s increase of 3.6 percent. Seniors received no increases to their benefits for two years prior as prices fell due to the recession.
2015’s modest increase is tied to Wednesday’s release of the government’s main inflation measure, the Consumer Price Index, which showed that prices were up 1.7 percent during the 12 months ended in September.
But seniors still face sharper increases for utility and grocery bills, among other essentials. Housing costs are also rising faster than inflation, making it hard for retirees who don’t own their home.
Meanwhile, since seniors don’t have to commute to work each day, they may be less likely to enjoy the benefits of a more than 3 percent drop in gas prices, as measured in the CPI.
Many retirees are already struggling to get by, with the majority relying on Social Security as their main source of income.
Nearly 10 percent of people 65 and older live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, while women and minorities are far more likely to struggle.