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Cost-of-Living (COLA) adjustment for 2014

posted Oct 30, 2013, 12:25 PM by Jerry Pafford   [ updated Oct 30, 2013, 12:25 PM ]

It was announced this morning that the Cost-of-Living (COLA) adjustment for 2014 for Social Security recipients, disabled vets, federal retirees, military retirees, and individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income will be 1.5%. This is less than the 1.7% COLA we received for 2013. It is also among the smallest since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975. Another bit of good news - Medicare Part B premiums will not change in 2014; it will still be $104.90 a month for most seniors. Remember, some seniors must pay higher premiums based on their income. 

The COLA is based on the CPI-W formula, which is the method the government uses to measure inflation. It measures price changes for food, housing, clothing, transportation, energy, medical care, recreation and education The 2014 is small because consumer prices, as measured by the government, haven't gone up much in the past year. The low COLA for 2014 should be a wake-up call for all of us that the government's method of calculating the rising cost of good and services is out of sync with the reality faced by millions of federal retirees, Social Security recipients, and military retirees, who spend more than twice as much on medical care than the population measured by the CPI-W formula. 

We all know that that the White House and Congress has proposed switching to the Chained CPI as the methodology for calculating COLAs. That will only make the situation worse and COLAs will be even less under that methodology. I encourage you to express your dissatisfaction to your Congressman and our two Senators with the Chained CPI proposal. Ask them to consider switching to the CPI-E formula. This is a more accurate measure of inflation that accounts for health care and other costs facing seniors. If you need additional info on the CPI-E (elderly), please contact Larry Harper, GA Federation Legislative Director, at or at 478-951-3437.