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Social Security News

No COLA for Seniors on Social Security: Government Shutdown Delays Calculation

Oct. 10, 2013 - The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a short statement saying it will not be issuing the September results for the Consumer Price Index, because of the government shutdown. This means they will not be calculating the cost-of-living allowance for Social Security beneficiaries in 2014. No alternative date was scheduled.

With only the cost of living change for September to go to complete the calculation, the 2014 COLA (cost-of-living allowance) is still expected be about 1.5%.

 “If this proves to be correct, then the average COLA paid over the past five years was 1.4%.  This would be a record low period since the COLA became automatic,” according to Shannon Benton, Executive Director of The Senior Citizens League.


Related Archived Stories


Senior Citizen League Projecting Small 1.5% COLA for Social Security in 2014

SSA should make it official on October 15, after September CPI is calculated; advocates keeping close eye on chained CPI proposed by Obama, CPI for elderly ignored for years

By Tucker Sutherland, editor,

Oct. 3, 2013

Read more Social Security News

also check Medicare and Senior Politics


“The purpose of the COLA,” according to SSA, “is to ensure that the purchasing power of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits is not eroded by inflation. It is based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of the last year a COLA was determined to the third quarter of the current year. If there is no increase, there can be no COLA.”

The CPI-W is determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Department of Labor.

For purposes of determining the COLA, the average CPI-W for the third calendar quarter of the last year  is compared to the average CPI-W for the third calendar quarter of the current year. 

The resulting percentage increase, if any, represents the percentage that will be used to increase Social Security benefits beginning for December of the current year. 

SSI benefits increase by the same percentage the following month (January). If the increase in the CPI-W is at least one-tenth of one percent (0.1 percent), there will be a COLA. However, if the CPI-W increases by less than 0.05 percent, or if the CPI-W decreases, there will not be a COLA.

This year, there is a focus among senior citizens and their advocates on the change of several CPIs, since President Obama suggested earlier that the annual COLA should be based on an inflation measure known as the “Chained CPI” which is identified as “C-CPI.”

The chained CPI, according to AARP, “measures living costs differently because it assumes that when prices for one thing go up, people sometimes settle for cheaper substitutes (if beef prices go up, for example, they'll buy more chicken and less beef).

“Bottom line: Cost-of-living adjustments would be lower with the chained CPI than with the plain old CPI. So depending on which formula is used, the amount of your Social Security payments could change over time.

“How much could payments change? Estimates show that under the chained CPI, your cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) would be about .3 percentage point below the plain old CPI. That works out to $3 less on every $1,000, which doesn't sound like much — except that it keeps compounding over time.”

AARP, like virtually all senior organizations, opposes the change to the C-CPI. (Read “What’s the Chained CPI”.)


Financial Relief for Volkswagen Diesel Owners

You may be eligible for money damages if you owned or leased one of these VW, Porsche or Audi vehicles.

In the major scandal of 2015, Volkswagen cheated you and the world. They rigged diesel emission controls so you, nor regulators, would know how much pollution their cars were adding to our environment.

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