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Social security to increase 5.9%, seniors concerned it isn’t enough

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HANNIBAL (WGEM) -- People will receive more money on their social security checks next year than they have in the past few decades. This comes after The Social Security Administration announced benefits will increase by 5.9%.

But some local seniors are worried that won't be enough to make ends meet.

Charles Santoya, 76, has drawn social security for 14 years. He said he hasn't seen an increase like the nearly 6% increase that's coming in 2022, in years, so he is eager for his check.

"It's more money. I can use all the money I can get," Santoya said.

Robert Coeur also gets a social security check monthly. He says the increase is normally about 2%.

"I'm very happy about it. It keeps up with inflation and it'll help seniors a lot," Coeur said.

But he said inflation in the cost of groceries, gas, health insurance and other items on top of monthly bills will take a chunk out of that increase in his checks.

North East Community Action Corporation Spokesperson Brent Engel said even with the concern of inflation, there are things you can do to stretch your budget.

"There are things that every person can do to alleviate some of the impact from inflation. One of the best ways is to just stop spending money," Engel said.

Engel recommends you stop eating out, and lower your thermostat temperature to cut back on food and utility costs, and switch from credit cards to cash to avoid interest rates. He said seniors can also get a job or second job if needed.

"Seniors are the most likely to get jobs because they have the experience necessary and employers look for that. They look for people who know how to get things done," Engel said.

Coeur said he's thankful he doesn't have to rely only on his social security check for his monthly income, because he says the 5.9% increase isn't enough.

"I've got other income, but for people who don't have other income, it's really tight to exist on social security checks. I'm not sure you can do it," Coeur said.

Engel said if you need help NECAC is a social services agency that can help you with budgeting, job searching, and developing marketable skills you might have forgotten along the way. You can call the Hannibal location at (573) 221-7166.

The Social Security Administration said in 2021 on average retired workers received $1,555 a month and disabled workers received $1,280 a month.

The administration said people can expect to know how much they'll receive next year by the end of December.

Charity Bell

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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