November 30, 2022

Senior News Line: Social Security benefit for 2023

It’s official: Our Social Security increase for 2023 will be 8.7%. They say it’s the largest increase in 40 years.

For the average senior, that’s going to mean a $146 monthly increase. Plus we’re getting a small “rebate” on that massive Medicare Part B increase we faced last year when the cost went to $170.10 to pay for Aduhelm, an Alzheimer’s disease drug that was said to cost $56,000 per year — after facing criticism, manufacturers had to cut the cost in half, down to $28,200.

We’ll now save $5.20 on our Part B premium, with the average monthly deduction being $164.90. The Part B annual deductible will drop to $226, a $7 savings.

What’s disturbing is that only a few months ago the financial gurus were expecting we’d receive a 10.2% increase on Social Security, based on all the high prices we’ve been seeing this year and will likely see into 2023. Instead, they’ve lowered that to the 8.7% — while prices have continued to rise.

The problem is how those annual increases are calculated. They use the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, which calculates the prices of goods and services for things those urban workers care about: clothing, education, electronics and so on. That CPI-W covers 29% of the population.

Instead, they should use the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly, which focuses on goods and services that seniors spend money on: medical, drugs, food, housing and so on.

The next time you call your senators and representatives, be sure to ask why the Elderly index isn’t being used. After all, they’ve been thinking about it since the 1980s.

Meanwhile, don’t let the Medicare open enrollment period pass you by. Until Dec. 7 you have the option to make changes to your original Medicare Advantage plan, supplemental plan and prescription drug plan.

Matilda Charles

© 2022 King Features Synd., Inc.