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WI retirees hopeful about Social Security increase

Closeup detail of several Social Security Cards representing finances and retirement
Lane Erickson - stock.adobe.com
Closeup detail of several Social Security Cards representing finances and retirement

People who receive Social Security payments are eager to see the new cost-of-living adjustment be applied.

The highest increase in decades comes as many beneficiaries, in Wisconsin and elsewhere, struggle to get by.

This month, the Social Security Administration announced a cost-of-living increase of 8.7% for 2023, about an extra $145 a month, on average.

Nancy Koch, a retiree from the Milwaukee area, said the payments are all she and her husband have in terms of income, which makes it difficult to keep up with inflation.

"It's been really tough," Koch acknowledged. "I didn't expect it would be so hard, but it's been really hard. There have been times when we've run out of food money, and it's like, 'OK, what do we do for the next two weeks?' "

She said the extra money will help immensely, but budgeting will still be a challenge. Some Republicans in Congress have floated reforms viewed as a way to trim the program. They argued fixes are needed as more people in an aging population sign up for payments. But opponents, including AARP, say a bipartisan approach is needed to protect Social Security and make it stronger.

Koch contended the broader public needs to understand just how vital the program is to many older Americans who do not have a retirement nest egg.

"I don't know what they think people will do without it, because we're not the only couple in the world that live on Social Security alone," Koch remarked.

Overall, there are more than 65 million Social Security beneficiaries. Meanwhile, older Americans are getting some more good financial news. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a decrease in Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles.

Mike Moen is the Morning Edition producer and serves as a staff reporter for WNIJ. Every morning, he works with Dan Klefstad to bring listeners the latest Illinois news. He also works with the rest of the news staff on developing and producing in-depth stories. Mike is a Minnesota native who likes movies, history, and baseball. When most people hear his last name, they assume he is 100-percent Scandinavian. But, believe it or not, he is mostly German.
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