Millions Of Retired And Disabled Social Security Beneficiaries Face Shrinking Social Security Checks Next Year

About 50 million retired and disabled Americans receive Social Security benefits. The average monthly benefit for retirees is $1,153 this year. Social Security benefits are increased each year to keep pace with increases in the cost-of-living. The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is pegged to inflation. However, since inflation has been negative this year, the trustees who oversee the Social Security program are projecting that there will not be an increase in the COLA for the next two years. That has not happened since automatic increases were adopted in 1975.

By law, Social Security benefits cannot go down. Nevertheless, monthly payments would drop for millions of people in the Medicare prescription drug program because the premiums, which often are deducted from Social Security payments, are scheduled to go up slightly.

More than 32 million people are in the Medicare prescription drug program. Average monthly premiums are set to go from $28 this year to $30 next year, though they vary by plan. About 6 million people in the program have premiums deducted from their monthly Social Security payments, according to the Social Security Administration.

Millions of people with Medicare Part B coverage for doctors’ visits also have their premiums deducted from Social Security payments. Part B premiums are expected to rise as well. But under the law, the increase in Part B premiums cannot be larger than the increase in Social Security benefits. Unfortunately, there is no similar provision in the law limiting premium increases in the Medicare prescription drug program.

For more information, see the Social Security website, at