WASHINGTON — Another year, another small raise for millions of people who rely on Social Security, veterans’ benefits and federal pensions.
Preliminary figures suggest next year’s benefit increase will be roughly 1.5 percent, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. The increase will be small because consumer prices, as measured by the government, haven’t gone up much in the past year.
For the second year in a row, it would be one of the lowest raises since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975.
The exact size of the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, won’t be known until the Labor Department releases the inflation report for September. That was supposed to happen Wednesday, but the report has been delayed indefinitely because of the partial government shutdown.
Nearly 58 million retirees, disabled workers, spouses and children get Social Security benefits. The average monthly payment is $1,162. A 1.5 percent raise would increase the typical monthly payment by about $17.
The COLA also affects benefits for more than 3 million disabled veterans, about 2.5 million federal retirees and their survivors and more than 8 million people who get Supplemental Security Income, the disability program for the poor.