NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Social security benefits will rise only 1.5% next year, one of the smallest increase ever in the program’s annual cost-of-living adjustment.
The increase is down from the 1.7% increase for 2013. there was no cost-of-living increase at all in 2010 and 2011 because prices fell in the wake of the recession. a 3.6% adjustment in 2012 has been the only significant rise in benefits in recent years.
The latest adjustment will add about $19 to monthly checks, taking the average benefit to $1,294.
The small increase is due to the fact that inflation has been low. Wednesday’s reading of the consumer price index, the government’s main inflation gauge, showed that overall prices were up 1.2% over the 12 months ending in September. A 7.5% dip in gas prices over that time period was a big factor keeping prices in check.
But it’s not clear that these adjustments really cover the increasing costs faced by 57 million social security recipients, who have different spending habits than the overall population.