Social Security benefits could not keep up with inflation in 2022: The Senior Citizens League

Inflation took a major toll on the budgets and financial wellness of many older Americans in 2022, research by The Senior Citizens League shows.

While Social Security benefits in 2022 increased by 5.9%, inflation increased by 7.1% year-over-year in November, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The 5.9% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) received from January through December fell short of actual inflation each month by 46% on average, The Senior Citizens League's report said. The group says this drop "left the average Social Security benefit of $1,656 short by more than $42 per month and more than $508 for the year."

The Senior Citizens League added, "While Social Security recipients are looking forward to an 8.7 percent increase in Social Security benefits in January, inflation in 2022 has taken a toll on retiree budgets."

If you’re struggling in the current economy, consider paying off high-interest debt with a personal loan. You can visit Credible to get your personalized rate in minutes, without affecting your credit score. 

Social Security Administration to make substantial COLA increase in 2023, but is it enough for retirees?

Prices of basic goods increased sharply for older Americans 

Many senior citizens saw health insurance premiums and the price of basic goods like heating oil and food rise significantly in 2022, research by The Senior Citizens League shows. 

Between October 2021 and October 2022, the fastest growing costs for households with consumers ages 65 and over were home heating oil (68%), airfares (42.9%), flour and prepared mixes (24.6%), health insurance (20.6%) and natural gas (20%).

"In older households, many of the goods and services that have the most stubbornly high prices account for the biggest portion of spending," The Senior Citizens League said in its study. "Since 2020, price hikes for virtually everything pose the biggest challenge for older Americans, particularly lower-income senior households who depend on Social Security for most, or even all, of their income."

If you’re struggling to make your monthly payments, consider consolidating high-interest debt into a personal loan at a lower interest rate. You can visit Credible to speak with a personal loan expert to see if this option is right for you. 

Social Security increase 2023: What does it mean for retirees?

More seniors sought public assistance in 2022 

The rising prices of basic goods seemed to push many older Americans to turn to public assistance for help, The Senior Citizens League’s report said. 

The group found that 33% of respondents said they applied for food stamps or visited a food pantry in the last 12 months, up from 22% in 2020. 

The league also found that 17% of respondents applied for heating costs assistance in 2022, up from 10% in 2020.

If high-interest debt is harming your financial wellness, consider paying it down with a personal loan. You can visit Credible to compare interest rates from different lenders at once, without affecting your credit score.

Nearly half of Americans don't expect Social Security to be there when they need it

Have a finance-related question, but don't know who to ask? Email The Credible Money Expert at and your question might be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.