If you are a Social Security recipient, then there is good news for you. According to the Social Security Administration on Friday, there will be a two percent increase in 2018. The increase will be the largest one since 2012. An additional $25 to $27 will be included in some people checks. The average monthly Social Security benefit now is between $1,258 and $1,377. Some checks are much less.

Many seniors are thankful for the two percent increase even though they wish it could be more. It is a small amount, but it is more than the 0.3 percent that was added to checks earlier this year.

Nothing at all was added last year. According to The Washington Post, the increase will be visible in Social Security checks that will be issued in January 2018.

Cost of living adjustment (COLA)

Not only is this good news for more than 70 million Social Security recipients who are over 65 years old, but the cost-of-living adjustment will also go to the severely disabled, veterans, federal retirees, and orphans. That includes about one in every five Americans, and one of them might be you.

The decision for the increase to be two percent was based on inflation during July, August, and September after comparing it to those three months last year.

It is a cost of living adjustment (COLA) meant to help seniors keep up with the higher cost of living. Since the last increase, many things have gone up for them. That includes rent, medication, doctor bills, and gasoline.

Mary Johnson of The Senior Citizens League reported that the cost of living is forcing seniors to use their savings to take care of their basic needs. Some conservatives object to the increase by rationalizing that when the cost of living goes up, seniors and others simply adjust their buying habits.

Congress' decision, not the president's

President Donald Trump is not responsible for the increase or the amount because the extra money is being enacted automatically by Congress. Presidents have often been accused of having something to do with the increase, but presidents have no power to change what Congress has in place. However, he can persuade Congress to change the law entirely.

When President Barack Obama was in office he persuaded Congress to approve the one-time payment of $250 to Social Security recipients.

This happened in 2009 and came to be known as an economic stimulus package which was a good thing for recipients. Getting Congress to approve that package was a tremendous help for seniors. Unfortunately, that was a one-time payment that might not happen under the Trump administration.

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