Senior citizens set to receive first Social Security raise since 2009

By Colleen Van Horn, RN, B.S.N., PHN, CCM

According to recent coverage in

Bloomberg Businessweek

, the U.S. government has announced that Social Security recipients will receive a 3.6% bump in their benefits beginning in January 2012. The new cost of living adjustment (COLA) marks the first raise for seniors since 2009, when they received a 5.8% increase in benefits; and as stated by AARP executive vice president Nancy LeaMond, the boost is likely to be “welcome news” that will “ease the financial hardship many older Americans face today.”

On average, the 3.6% COLA increase will yield $43 more per month for the nation’s fifty-five million Social Security beneficiaries, bringing recipients’ average monthly income to about $1,229. However,

CNN Money

reports that most senior citizens probably won’t see full returns on the COLA increase due to an anticipated spike in Medicare premiums, the extent of which will be announced in November. Despite this potential setback, many individuals are likely to share LeaMond’s view of the matter – and take comfort in the raise that will help compensate for rising health care costs, declines in the stock market and limited interest from longstanding savings accounts.

Spending wisely: how to prepare for the future with customized health care solutions

This week’s COLA announcement may temporarily assuage fears of a dwindling post-retirement income for seniors and soon-to-be retirees. But moving forward, the government’s efforts to reduce the national debt and reign in federal spending may impact the COLA formula – reducing annual increases by several tenths of a percentage point and, over time, contributing to a significant reduction in overall benefits.

With an uncertain future ahead in terms of both yearly income expectations and average health care costs, today’s seniors need sound advice and counsel when it comes to balancing budgetary concerns with preparations for the best possible long-term care. At

Innovative Healthcare Consultants

, we understand that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all health plan – and that sometimes, an individual’s needs don’t match up with his or her income or available resources. By incorporating professional geriatric care experience with compassionate and customized planning, our highly skilled care managers assess each client’s health and lifestyle needs and provide a confidential review of funding and available healthcare options uniquely suited to each case.

By forging client relationships that honor individuality and offering a lifelong support system for aging seniors, Innovative Healthcare Consultants bring a personal touch to the often overwhelming world of medical care and financial planning. Take charge of your future early, and create a plan that ensures security and quality care for the long haul. To learn more or request a consultation, visit us online: