The SS COLA is based on the changes in the CPI-W which is explained below.
This measure is controversial in that it may not reflect changes in the cost of living for retired Americans. It is widely misunderstood as is the entire concept of COLAs.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) is based on the expenditures of households included in the CPI-U definition that also meet two additional requirements: more than one-half of the household’s income must come from clerical or wage occupations, and at least one of the household’s earners must have been employed for at least 37 weeks during the previous 12 months. The CPI-W population represents about 29 percent of the total U.S. population and is a subset of the CPI-U population.
I asked some retirees their opinions on the subject. Take a look at what they said.
“Think that the COLA should keep up with inflation. Our pensions don’t go up so we only have SS Benefits to help with the inflation!!”
“Once on a fixed income at least an increase that keeps up with inflation I would see most people being able to at least keep pace with expenses.”
“I believe it should mirror the average salary raise of American workers which has been approximately at 3% since 2013. The years 2010-2012 was near 2.8%. Or a percentage of that average yearly salary raise percentage; eg 75%.”
“I have been on it since I was 63 am now 65 I have seen one increase”
“The whole purpose of instituting the COLA was to compensate retirees for their loss of buying power due to inflation. If the buying power is not lost, then no need for compensation to the non-existent loss. (Now, if you want to discuss which version of the CPI to use, then that makes sense.)”
“No single COLA – even if accurate for some – can fit everyone’s reality, and a flat number is no better. Only what’s best could be pursued; my best (thought) CPI or 1%, whichever is greater.”
“The government doesn’t report typical inflation correctly how can they use COLA any better? I’ve dealt with seniors since I was a teenager delivering groceries in the mid 80’s & I say an annual 3% boost would be a good move 👍”
“3 percent at a minimum, maybe tie it to the pay raise congress gives itself”
“I agree with some sort of a minimum. If you get anything it’s usually less than a percent if anything, which is ridiculous.”
“I support a base increase of 2% or 3% that would be effective every year. That base would only be reduced if there is a decrease in the Gross National Product drops more than that base rate for the 4 quarters in any given year.”