Social Security COLA for 2022 Biggest Since 1982, but Still Won’t Cover Actual Cost of Living Increases for Many Retirees

by Wolf Richter
Wolf Street

For retirees, 2021 was a nasty year: Red hot inflation and a stingy COLA. In 2022, they might fall behind more slowly.

Among the red-hot inflation data released today was the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which is used to calculate the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits. The COLA to be applied to Social Security benefits starting in January 2022 is the average year-over-year percentage increase of CPI-W in the third quarter. And today, the September data was released.

For September, the CPI-W soared by 5.9% year-over-year, after having soared by 5.8% in August and by 6.0% in July. The COLA for 2022 will be the average of those three: 5.9%, the highest since 1982:

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