Seniors have lost almost one-third of their buying power since 2000, according to the Annual Survey of Senior Costs released by advocacy group The Senior Citizens League.
Since 2000, the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) has increased just 31 percent, while typical senior expenses have jumped 73 percent, more than twice as fast, according to the report.
In 2011, for the second consecutive year, seniors received no COLA. Prior to 2010, seniors had received a COLA every year since 1975, when the automatic COLA was introduced. Seniors are forecast to receive a very small COLA next year, the report said.
The survey examined the increase in costs of 30 common housing, transportation, medical, food, and other consumable items between 2000 and 2011. Price increases for 22 out of the 30 costs exceeded the COLA.
“To put it in perspective, for every $100 worth of expenses seniors could afford in 2000, they can afford just $68 today,” said Larry Hyland, chairman of The Senior Citizens League.
A senior with an average Social Security benefit in 2000 received $816 per month, a figure that rose to $1,072.30 by 2011. However, that senior would require a Social Security benefit of $1,414.70 per month in 2011 to maintain their lifestyle from 2000, according to the report.