No cost of living increase for Social Security

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - For the first time in more than 34 years the cost of living adjustment for seniors on Social Security will not raise one cent in 2010. However, President Obama is calling on Congress to approve an immediate recovery payment of $250 for every one of the millions of Americans on Social Security.

But, some East Texas seniors say $250 won't cut it.

"My hope is that I will die within the next 10 years,"  said Juanita Boen.

That's because 69-year-old Boen says she doesn't want to be a financial burden on her grown children.

"You kind of grow up thinking, 'Yea, the government's going to take care of you until it happens,'" she said.

In 2005, Boen was in a car crash that killed her husband. She survived, but suffered brain damage. Medical bills are high, and her savings are quickly fading away. She is upset that the Social Security Administration won't raise her cost of living adjustment.

"Wouldn't you?" said Boen. "But, I didn't get it. So, what am I going to do, cry? I still won't get it."

The average monthly payment for Social Security recipients is about $1,094, and more than 50 million Americans currently receive Social Security.

"I'm fortunate because I had a father that taught me to save when I was a kid," said Kathleen Burch.

And, for that reason, 86-year-old Burch doesn't have rely on Social Security.

"Have very much compassion for them that are struggling," said Burch.

"Social Security has been one of the most successful government run programs in our history and certainly the world," said Shane Fox, Vice President of Texas Alliance for Retired Americans.

Fox says Social Security is still reliable.

"The cost of living adjustment is tied to the consumer price index," said Fox. "We happen to be at a point in history that the consumer price index is down - we have better buying power."

Fox is a beneficiary of Social Security.

"My check comes at the same time every month in the same amount and never bounces," said Fox.

But, for millions of Americans, that check increase either. Millions of Americans on Social Security are also on Medicare. And, the Department of Health has yet to announce if there will be any Medicare premium changes for 2010.

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