Huge Social Security cost-of-living increase could accelerate trust's depletion

Social Security recipients in 2022 are in line to receive the big payment increase in nearly four decades, reflecting a pandemic-drive inflation surge – but the boost could ultimately deplete the fund a year earlier than expected. 

The Social Security Administration said Wednesday that next year's cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, will be 5.9%. That amounts to a monthly increase of $92 for the average retired Wednesday, bringing the amount to $1,657, the administration said. A typical couple's benefits would climb by $154 to $2,754 per month.  

But the increase – the steepest annual adjustment since 1982, when recipients saw a 7.4% bump – could push Social Security closer toward insolvency. 
The government has projected that Social Security, one of the biggest federal benefit programs, will be unable to pay full benefits starting in 2033. At that point, only 76% of benefits could be paid out. 

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