Writer: Steve Dinnen
Rejoice, retiree, you’re getting a pay raise in 2021. But don’t get carried away — you’ll have to settle for a 1.3% boost to your Social Security payout, starting in January.
Most years since 1975, Social Security has tacked on a little bit extra to whatever payment is due you, to try to counter the impact of inflation. It’s called a COLA – cost of living adjustment. Some years it’s a healthy amount – a 14.3% rise declared in 1980. But sometimes it’s a big fat zero (2009 and 2010 were both notable losers). In 2019 it amounted to 1.6%, which means that over the past two years recipients have collected a cumulative raise of 2.92%.
For number crunchers, COLA is determined by the increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of the prior year to the corresponding quarter of the current year in which the COLA became effective. Whew!
Veering slightly off topic, I think one of the more endearing words in Spanish is jubilado (hoo-bee-LA-doh). It literally means retiree – and more loosely means one who is enjoying his jubilee years. So rejoice, jubilado!