Writer: Steve Dinnen
Good news first: Everyone receiving a Social Security check will get a nice raise in 2022. Bad news: It won’t make much of a difference.
The government is expected to announce a 6% bump in Social Security payouts as it calculates inflation with a cost of living adjustment. Since the average payout is $1,543, that works out to about $90 a month. Half a million people in Iowa receive retirement benefits, so in the aggregate that pumps a lot of extra dollars into the economy.
The payout is somewhat tempered by deductions for Medicare Part B, which most seniors participate in and which has its monthly premium deducted from their Social Security check. It is slated to rise 6.2%, to $157.70, from $148.50.
Between 2000 and 2020, Social Security payouts have risen on average 2.2% annually. Medicare Part B has gone up 5.9% annually.
Critics contend the government uses the wrong consumer price index (CPI-W, for shorthand) that understates the impact of inflation. The Senior Citizen League says that as a result, since 2000 Social Security payments have shed 30% of their purchasing power.
Social Security accounts for about one-third of the income for older people.