Social Security checks get measly $3.92 bump in 2017

The SAVE Benefits Act would give about 70 million seniors, Veterans, Americans with disabilities, and others an emergency payment equal to 3.9 percent of the average annual Social Security benefit, about $581 - the same percentage raise that top CEOs received a year ago.

Sign up to our daily newsletter for up to date global news and features. More than 60 million retirees, disabled workers, spouses and children rely on monthly Social Security benefits.

Since employees' Social Security payroll tax is 6.2% of eligible wages, a worker earning $127,200 or more would pay additional taxes of $539 for the year. "Come on, if they're going to give us a raise, they have to give us a little more."For Carmen Ramos, a retired Reading laborer and tax collection employee, next year's increase won't keep up with her rising rent, which jumped more than 2 percent a month, from $586 to $600, beginning on October 1". Cost of living increases are tied to the consumer price index, and low inflation rates and gas prices means smaller increases. The income cap is indexed to match wage growth but was not increased this year because it can not be raised in years in which there is no cost-of-living adjustment. For example, the 2017 COLA was based on inflation data for the year ending in the third quarter of 2016.

Medicare premiums will likely rise much more than $5 a month. The average retiree's monthly benefit is now $1,305.30. The 2015-2017 state budget included $351 million to cover Medicare Part B premiums - a 22 percent increase would cost an additional $77 million. He actually might fall a bit short because the increase on his $1,100 monthly paycheck will be closer to $3.30.

For Social Security beneficiaries still working, the thresholds for the earnings test are increasing from $15,720 for those under full retirement age and $41,880 during the year retirement age is reached, to $16,920 and $44,880, respectively.

While the 2017 cost-of-living adjustment is indeed a small amount, it is a positive sign for the US economy.

A drop in oil and gas prices has kept overall inflation in check in recent years. So, this is certainly a step in the right direction, as well as a few extra dollars in retirees' pockets.

  • Anthony Vega