2017 Social Security COLA likely to lack fizz

Retirees will receive a paltry increase in their Social Security checks in 2017 – the second consecutive year of flat or near-flat benefits, and the fifth year of inflation adjustments below 2 percent.

Next year’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be just two-tenths of 1 percent, according to predictions in the annual report of the trustees for Social Security and Medicare, released on Wednesday.

That number could be revised upward this autumn, when the official COLA is released, said Paul Van de Water, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – perhaps as high as one-half of 1 percent.

“The trustees’ assumptions are based on inflation numbers that are a few months old,” he said. “The latest numbers suggest the COLA could be a bit higher.” Still, for a retiree receiving the average monthly Social Security benefit – $1,341 – the raise is not likely to top a paltry $5 per month.

Don’t spend it all in one place, folks.

Learn more in my column today at Reuters Money.

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