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Social Security COLA no big deal

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Posted: 5 pm ET

If you're doing some 2013 retirement planning you can probably safely factor in a Social Security retirement pay raise of 1.3 percent.

The official Social Security cost of living adjustment for 2013 will be announced in mid-October, but the Congressional Budget Office has already made its guesstimate without the final figures from September and predicts 1.3 percent.

That's a puny -- but automatic -- raise for Social Security recipients as well as those who receive federal and military pensions.

This estimate came Sept. 18 because the U.S. is debating whether to approve a bill that would increase veterans' disability and survivors benefits by the same COLA that other military, federal retirees and Social Security recipients get. The House of Representatives already passed the bill in July. The CBO concluded that at 1.3 percent, the increased cost of giving disabled veterans and their surviving spouses a raise would be $686 million in fiscal year 2013. When you think about a debt in the trillions, that sum doesn't look as mind-boggling.

The COLA adjustment is effective Dec. 1, and will show up in recipients' checks in January.

What are you going to do with that money? For one thing, you are likely to spend it on Medicare's Part D Prescription Drug plan. Seven of the top 10 prescription drug plans have scheduled increases of 11 percent or more, according to an analysis by Avalere Health of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service Part D Landscape Files.

The Humana Walmart Preferred RX Plan is upping its charge the most. Its premium is going up 23 percent to $18.50 per month (which is still cheaper than most others). First Health Part D Premier, First Health Part D Value Plus and Cigna Medicare Rx Plan One each raised premiums by at least 15 percent. Overall, Part D premiums for current plans increased on average by 6 percent from 2012 to 2013, and the average monthly premium rose from about $38 to $40.

Medicare open enrollment starts Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7.  This is the time when you can switch plans. Avalere suggests you check out United Health's new Medicare Rx Saver Plus PDP, which costs as little as $15 a month -- the lowest-cost plan available in many parts of the country.

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R W Fisher
October 15, 2012 at 1:05 am

Im under 55, and I have paid into social security and medicare. I do not want it to change, I was also promised the same things people over 55 were promised. I have a suggestion. Stop spending money killing people overseas in unjust wars. We run a deficit for that, but not to take care of the promises that were made to me for the last 35 years. Tax the rich, tax the "job creators" that moved all the jobs overseas. cut military budget. it it the department of defense, not dept of offense. NO VOUCHER. I am for single payor healthcare for all.... put the blood sucking insurance companies out of business...... by the way, there are "death panels" in the us.... its your insurance company, with their prior auths, step therapy, and the good ole quantity limits. Insurance companies are EVIL, and should be treated as such
OBAMA 2012..... better than Mr I don't care about 47% of YOU PEOPLE

October 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Why don't you listen to what Romney is saying, instead of what MSNBC is telling you he is saying. You are being duped again. Every election the libs come out with the same old lies about Social Security and you keep falling for them. Wake up! You may not have a country and will end up like Greece. NOTHING will change with SS if you are receiving it now. The proposals only apply to those that are younger than 55 and it just gives them a choice.

Why do people go nuts over voucher choices? WE have choices now with Medicare Advantage. Get the Marxist out of the White House, the mystery man who people still don't know much about outside of his own made-up autobiography.

October 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm

WOW!!! Social Security COLA will be increased by 1.3%, while my food and gas bill has increased by 25% and 50% respectively. I have a proposal for all SS recipients, "Let's infuse the entire 1.3% into our economy and let's see how fast our $16 trillion deficit decreases". I am grateful to be an American and for what I have, but our own internal fiscal/financial policies are pathetic. Mr. Obama, Mr. Romney, a meal at my local McDonald's was no more than $5 four years ago. Now the same meal (A sandwich/fries/drink) is nearing $8. If my math is correct that's an increase of 60% minus 1.3%=58.7%. Just an example of the mounting cost of living in my area, I can just imagine places like California and New York. If the middle class is getting hammered by this economy, the poor are being pummeled!. How depressing.....):

October 14, 2012 at 12:26 pm

This is what the left has become. Nothing but personal attacks against anyone who doesn't see things their way. SANDY, you're a shameless Obama sycophant. You are so typical of the left. You and your slogans and attacks against anyone who sees Obama as the dirt bag he is disgust me. It's you and your type of people who have caused the whoas we have in this country. It's your type who have degraded the moral values we once had. It's you and your type who have created the vitriol and divisiveness in society. You're a cow.

October 13, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Wow Carole, if you've done your homework, you sadly flunked. You could stand on a mountain and beat your chest about taking back America, but you'd be so wrong. R/R are lying to America, and you're falling for it. If the ACA is repealed, the doughnut hole will reopen, you'll spend $6400 more for healthcare, you'll no longer receive free preventative mammograms, free physicals, colonoscopies, etc. They're feeding you a ton of lies, and you're eating them up. Sadly, your vote for Robme will not only bring you down, but also intelligent voters who didn't buy the bill of goods sold to us. Mittwit will tell you what you want to hear. Grow up, Carole, before it's too late. God save us from R/R, and people like Carole!!!

irene e walker
October 12, 2012 at 6:37 pm

In my opinion, us Senior Citizens,who have paid into Social Security all of our working lives hoping to have a decent retirement and incidentally on which we had paid taxes, should speak out loud and clear as to the unfairness forced upon us, by: Telling Each and Every politician and members of Congress, the President,Vice President, they too must pay for Social Security Benefits out of their excessive salaries, pay for medical benefits premiums. We should all remember that once voted into elective office, these individuals get all sorts of free benefits and perks for life, even after they retire, including their spouses. And, if they vote increases for themselves (which the majority do not deserve) they should also vote in giving same percentages to the working and retired Americans. They should remember,that without us, they are NOTHING! How did this unfairness come about? Thank you for letting me vent! and to voice my opinion about the injustice being done to the citizenry of our wonderful Country.

October 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I am a senior and every year my rent goes up by $75 a month. If this is not covered by a COLA increase in SS, then I have to make up the difference out of budgeted medical or food expenses. The joke about COLA, of course, is that it does not include the increasing prices for groceries in the calculation, as if the "cost of living" did not include one of the basics of life, food. So, we subsidize farms, pay inflated prices, and do not give the coverage from SS in which we have invested all our working lives. And Romney/Ryan would take even THAT away from us!

sharon coburn
October 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm

carole: this is my america too and i also receive ss. i almost wish you would have to suffer the doom of a romney presidency as it would serve u right for not not not getting your "facts" straight. unless u r a 1%er, u need to watch something besides fox news. romney changes his "plan" depending on who he's talking to. he lies like a rug and msnbc will prove it to u if u take the time to listen. we cannot allow this country to go to romney. please do some more research. even alot of republican congresspeople dont want him because they know what would happen.

October 09, 2012 at 8:55 pm

the 2013 cola 1.3 is not enough for most people, why do this to us WHY?

October 09, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I am a seior citizen and I am a Republican and I do not open my mouth unless I have study all pros & cons and make my decision based on facts. I find that the majority of voters only listen to what the news media feeds them, and take their views as the gospel truth. Do your homework seniors, it is yours and mine future. ObamaCare will be the worst thing the senior society will have to endure. If Obama is re-elected we all lose. I want my America back!!!!!!!!