Millions Face Shrinking Social Security Payments
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 23, 2009 6:35 PM CDT
Graphic shows the annual Social Security payment percentage increase since automatic adjustments were first adopted.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Millions of older people face shrinking Social Security checks next year, the first time in a generation that payments would not rise. The trustees who oversee Social Security are projecting there won't be a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the next 2 years. That hasn't happened since automatic increases were adopted in 1975.

By law, Social Security benefits cannot go down. Nevertheless, monthly payments would drop for millions of people the Medicare prescription drug program because the premiums, which often are deducted from Social Security payments, are scheduled to go up slightly. "To some people, it might not be a big deal," says a former congresswoman. "But to seniors, especially with their health care costs, it is a big deal."