“Each month, I calculate the common price over the previous 12 months, so as to venture third-quarter inflation for the CPI-W, which is used to calculate the COLA for the next 12 months,” she explains. “That 12-month common has been coming down, and that was true even when month-to-month inflation rose within the quick time period in January and February. The massive image is that inflation has been moderating, simply not as quick because the Fed and economists hoped.”
Whereas she sees this as a much less seemingly final result, if the upper month-to-month inflation pattern is sustained for a number of months, the COLA might vary considerably increased than the present projection, however there’s an excessive amount of unknown to confidently say precisely what may occur.
How a 0% COLA Might Come About
As Johnson explains, you will need to take into account the truth that the one months that issue immediately into the COLA calculation are these within the third quarter — i.e., July, August and September. To generate the COLA, the SSA provides the CPI-W readings from these months, then divides this totaled determine by three to get a mean third-quarter studying that may then be in contrast with the identical studying from the earlier 12 months.
Merely put, if the current-year common studying finally ends up decrease than the earlier 12 months’s common studying, that may suggest that the common value for items and providers, as measured by the CPI-W, has fallen 12 months over 12 months.
As Johnson recollects, this has in truth occurred a handful of occasions for the reason that CPI-W was launched in 1975, and in such circumstances, Social Safety advantages remained the identical from one 12 months to the subsequent.
“There isn’t any COLA in that scenario, and given the sky-high inflation we noticed in final 12 months’s third quarter and the truth that inflation is moderating, if slowly, it’s attainable there may very well be no COLA in 2024,” Johnson explains. “That is in all probability a shocking and scary factor to listen to for a lot of seniors, as a result of they’re feeling very actual ache attributable to a lack of buying energy.”
(Picture: David Palmer/ALM)