How Will You Spend Your $20.91?
For 2013, Social Security recipients will get a whopping 1.7 percent increase in their monthly checks starting in January. Only a few times since 1975 has that rate of increase been so low. For a person who receives the average $1,230 per month, that increase will amount to $20.91 extra.
Don’t spend it all in one place.
The small increase is due to the Consumer Price Index, which Social Security adjustments are based on. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the index increased just 1.7 percent overall in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2012.
The USDA does concede that because of the droughts in the Midwest (the worst in 50 years), food prices will rise in 2013 above the “average” inflation of 2.5 percent to 3 percent that’s taken place in 2012. It takes several months for that type of disaster to impact food prices. It says that for 2013, “inflation should be above the historical average for food categories such as cereals and bakery products, as well as other foods.”
The “experts” don’t shop at my grocery store. What they apparently haven’t seen is that store prices already are rising … quickly.
And that’s not all. Medical care has gone up 4 percent this year. Gas for the car rose 6 percent. Rents and utilities also have risen.
Meanwhile there’s the coming rise in Medicare Part B. That cost comes out of your Social Security check before you even get it. It’s estimated that the additional cost each month will be in the $7 range — one-third of the Social Security adjustment.
When you run all the numbers, I think we’re already spending our average $20.91 increase.
Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to email@example.com.
(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.