Benefits Boost a Reminder Seniors Need Our Help

The federal government announced last week that Social Security benefits will rise 8.7% beginning next year. 

According to the Social Security Administration, the average recipient will get $146 more per month beginning in January. They will also see a decline of 3% in Medicare Part B premiums, which are for doctor visits and hospital outpatient services. 

According to the agency, 52.5 million Americans over 65 and nearly 18 million others who qualify for benefits will see a rise in monthly benefits. Beginning in January, the average retiree will receive $1,827 in monthly Social Security benefits after the cost-of-living adjustment. 

These moves will provide some needed relief for the many senior citizens who have struggled with living on a monthly budget amid rising food and medical prices. Most retirees rely solely on Social Security because of a lack of savings and/or retirement income to cover basic needs. 

It’s another reminder that Americans need to take better care of our seniors. There is always talk of Social Security being in trouble, and after this latest hike in benefits, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has projected that the trust that funds benefits could run out by 2032. 

How will the next generation of seniors be able to afford to live after retirement? 

According to a recent report from the investment firm Vanguard, the average American has $141,542 saved up for retirement. However, the median 401(k) balance is $35,345. 

And that was before inflation. Since January 2021, U.S. monthly savings levels have fallen, and many are now living paycheck to paycheck due to inflated prices on essentials. And, recent market volatility has resulted in many losing about a quarter of their retirement money. 

“Last year, it was COVID. Now it’s the inflation that is wiping them out,” Msgr. Alfred LoPinto, chief executive officer of Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, said this summer at a food distribution event at St. Michael’s Parish in Sunset Park. 

“You’re always going to have recessions and some levels of inflation, but having all of these things at the same time is like living in the perfect storm,” he told The Tablet. 

As Pope Francis has said, “The elderly who have the faith are like trees that continue to bear fruit.” 

Pope Francis has long been an advocate for the older generation. He continues to explain the value of our senior citizens. 

“When we become old, especially if we are poor, if we are sick and alone, we experience the shortcomings of a society programmed for efficiency, which consequently ignores its elderly. And the elderly are a wealth not to be ignored,” Pope Francis said. 

While the Church tells us to take care of and respect our older citizens, it’s about time that the federal government allocates the needed resources that were guaranteed to them as a reward for being the generation that truly made America great.