The Social Security Administration recently announced its 2021 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Looks like we’ll get barely 1% more per month -- far less than the increased price of our prescription drugs! I’m not sure that younger people know that even for those of us who have managed to save substantial sums for retirement, Social Security is an integral part of our retirement plans -- and will be for theirs no matter how careful they are with investments. Only the extremely rich can live without Social Security.
The COLA is supposed to keep up with inflation rather than make us fall behind. But we don’t spend my money on the types of goods and services considered by COLA. We don’t buy a new car every year, but we spend thousands on healthcare. While Medicare is a great basic health plan, it has premiums and co-pays. Also, it does not cover our eyeglasses, hearing aids, or dental bills. We rely on my savings and Social Security to pay for those things. But the costs keep going up and Social Security is not keeping up.
Here’s why: The inflation table that Social Security uses to set the COLA is one that primarily applies to working-age people, not retirees. There’s a better inflation scale called the CPI-E (Consumer Price Index for the Elderly), which reflects seniors’ buying patterns and won’t erode benefits. We just need to convince the government to put it in place. I doubt Trump ever heard of this issue, but it’s part of Joe Biden’s plan to “build back better.”
My ballot is cast with votes for Biden/Harris, Mark Kelly, and Tom O’Halleran because I know they understand the details that matter to seniors and will make the changes we need. There are many other reasons why I’ve voted for these fine candidates, but I hope this one resonates with some of my peers.
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