Social Security increase will be small – again

Social Security increase for 2014 will be about 1.5 percent, according to preliminary figures. The Social Security increase is one of the smallest in 40 years because inflation has been tame this year. 

Bradley C. Bower/AP/File
Trays of printed Social Security checks wait to be mailed from a US Treasury facility in Philadelphia in 2005. For the second straight year, millions of recipients can expect an historically small Social Security increase in benefits come January 2014.

For the second straight year, millions of Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees can expect historically small increases in their benefits come January.

Preliminary figures suggest a benefit increase of roughly 1.5 percent, which would be among the smallest since automatic increases were adopted in 1975, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

Next year's raise will be small because consumer prices, as measured by the government, haven't gone up much in the past year.

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 was delayed indefinitely because of the partial government shutdown.

The COLA is usually announced in October to give Social Security and other benefit programs time to adjust January payments. The Social Security Administration has given no indication that raises would be delayed because of the shutdown, but advocates for seniors said the uncertainty was unwelcome.

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