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Indicators: No COLA Likely For 2016

2015 August 28
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by Steve Perrigo

Economic indicators are growing that there will be no cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, in 2016. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is set to release Consumer Price Index data for the month of August on Sept. 16.

The next COLA will be announced in October and calculated using the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The amount will be based on the percentage increase in the average CPI-W for the third quarter of 2015 over the third quarter of 2014.

Meanwhile, the Social Security Administration has posted its COLA estimates online, highlighting monthly BLS data and estimates from the Social Security Board of Trustees. The high and intermediate cost estimates for December 2015 are both at 0.0 percent COLA, with a low cost estimate of 0.2 percent.

An August report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College highlights the impact of no COLA on Medicare program costs. The hold harmless provision for Social Security beneficiaries means the majority would not see an increase in their Medicare Part B premiums in a year when there is no COLA increase.

The last time there was no COLA increase was during two consecutive years—January 2010 and January 2011.

COLA 2016

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