It reads like this, Folks:

“Your Social Security benefit will increase by 5.9% in 2022 because of a rise in the cost of living. You can use this letter as proof of your benefit amount if you need to apply for food, rent, or energy assistance. You can also use it to apply for bank loans or for other business. Keep this letter with your important financial records.”                             

– SSA Retirement & Disability Benefit letter for 2022

5.9%? Really?

On the surface, that 5.9% seems greater than the increases of recent years, as retirees received nothing substantial from the Obama Administration.

But how much of an “increase” was it actually?


First let us consider the increase in Medicare Part ‘B’ premiums that government deducts before we receive the deposit. For example, my own Part ‘B’ will escalate in January to $170.10 from the $148.50 of 2021. But, 170.10 is 114.54% of 148.50. Doesn’t that represent an increase of 14.54% for Part ‘B’ over 2021? This Part ‘B’ increase hardly represents an equivalent or even comparable 5.9 % increase over the 2022 amount, being over two and one half times greater.


The needed increases in my personal budget were several due to over 400% inflation so far this year, hardly proportionate to a 5.9% increase and incomprehensibly higher than inflation during the Trump years.


When Biden took office in January, average gasoline prices across the country were around $2.25/gallon. Recently they have topped $3.40/gallon, nearly a 50% increase in gasoline prices, with many areas of the nation well over that mark.

I recall that locally (Northwest Indiana near Chicago) I paid as little as $2.12/gallon. Yesterday, after the media-touted ‘rapid decline’ in oil prices, I paid $3.19, still around 50%. So I increased my gas budget 50%.


Food? Need I say more? Living alone and minimally, and as closely as I watch my grocery shopping, I increased my food and household budget another 12.5%, right up there alongside the Medicare percent increase. And I am still deciding whether that 12.5% increase will suffice.


The auto insurance on my aging Chevrolet Suburban has been increased beginning in December around $5.00/month on my six-month renewable contract. In June I expect that it will increase again. The increase does seem strange as limited auto travel during the lockdowns of the prior year should have had minimal effect on the present rate increases. I am a biblical theologian and cultural apologist who only writes, blogs and gets in trouble at present, and no economic whiz-kid. But it does seem that increases in prices of the basic necessities will eventually affect operational expenditures of indirectly related companies such as the insurance industry.


Another of my budget items due to increase in mid-year is my apartment rent. I must report gross income and certain expenses against that annually to my property owners. So this coming July, I can expect another annual increase to my rent due to the SSA 2022 increase, albeit microscopic by the standards of multimillionaires in possession of their own mansions, vacation homes and other ‘entitlements’.  


Then I wonder who and what other entities suffer from the nullification of our alleged increases? If there are necessities that I do not experience in this moment, what will the costs of those needs be when they do present a necessity for me, truck repairs and maintenance, clothing, etc.? What is the fallout yet to come for us from the utility companies, electric, water, heating?

And what of the increase of solicitations that I observe from a variety of non-profits and ministries in my snail mail box, other than a couple that I manage to support with a few bucks each month? Will the works of love that have been dependent on the two mites offered by so many who simply want something to give each month, will even the efficacy of the meager, ‘penny jar’ offerings of us peasants decline as well?


I am in no case suggesting that the government give to SSA recipients more, but only that the government give to us what they claim that they are giving to us with the one hand, and not taking it back by other means with the other?

Me? As my SSA retirement benefit is slightly above the average, my purchasing power will only decline a few dollars. Until June…

Father David+

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