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Social Security Checks Will Suddenly Be Much Bigger— What to Expect

The most sizable increase in decades is linked to a jump in the costs for consumer goods.

Social Security and Supplemental Security checks will go up at the end of this year in response to rising costs of living, the Social Security Administration announced today. How big? Checks will go up by 5.9%, the largest percentage increase since 1982. This means, the average retired person will now receive $1,657 per month, compared to this year’s $1,565 per month, according to government estimates, though amounts vary from person to person.

Each year, the agency adjusts payouts to keep up with inflation, following the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index, according to the Social Security Administration. This year’s increase comes amid concerns about inflation due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the economy, reports NBC News.

According to the Consumer Price Index, prices of all goods have risen by 5.4% since this time last year. In particular, food costs have risen by 4.6% and energy costs have risen by 24.8%. The jump in this year’s Social Security check amounts was somewhat expected, as economic numbers have been warning of potential inflation for a few months now.

These benefits impact about 70 million people, mostly people over 62 who are eligible, as well as people living with disabilities. But Social Security keeps millions of Americans out of poverty every year, and the impacts of the program are widespread. According to recent Census data, the program lifted over 1 million children out of poverty last year. As of 2011, 10% of US children lived in the same household as their grandparent, with many having a grandparent as their caregiver, according to the Pew Research Center. This included 47% of kids living without a parent, as well as 16% of kids with one parent in the house and 5% of kids with two parents in their house.

For many families who live with, support or rely on a retired person, these checks can be a real lifeline. The Social Security Administration noted that most people can expect to see higher checks starting in January.