First at five, October 15, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---Social Security benefits will increase 5.8 percent next year, the largest amount in 26 years, but some people worry that's not enough to keep up with inflation.
Sara Owens has to put in a lot more thought, when it comes to grocery shopping lately.
"I went to two stores because better prices at one than at the other on certain items," said Owens.
Higher grocery prices, among other things, have left her budget a little strained, but she says the increase for her Social Security check will help a little.
"I would say it would just be re-cooping what we are having to come up with, with all the extra prices," she said.
Every year Social Security benefits increase based on the rise in the consumer price index. The average person will get about $60 more every month.
"Well it's another tank of gas, that's basically it," said Derrill Deal, who's been receiving Social Security benefits for 15 years. "[We]actually need more but since you're not gonna get it I guess we just make the best we can with what you got."
Leaders at the Augusta Social Security Administration office on Robert C. Daniel Parkway says the increase will affect about 65,000 people they serve locally.
Deal says it's questionable how much the increase will help, because of all the increased costs the consumer has to now deal with.
The Department of Energy says gas has gone up about 14% since last year.
And while Owens believes the extra money will make it easier to shop for groceries, she says her retirement is not what she expected.
"You thought you had everything figured out as to how you could continue to live and then all of a sudden, it just falls apart," said Owens.
The new increase is more than double this year's, which was 2.3 percent. Retirees will start seeing the higher amount in January.
The basic Medicare premium will stay the same next year.