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Citing record high inflation and higher food costs, the Social Security Administration announced Wednesday an 8.7 percent increase in benefits.
In West Virginia, nearly half a million social security recipients will see about $145 added to their benefits starting in January 2023.
This is the largest one-time increase since 1981.
Gaylene Miller, state director of AARP WV, said the announcement was “welcome news” for the state’s social security recipients. The average monthly social security benefit is $1,500 in the state, she said.
“Inflation has hit everyone hard, but people who are on a fixed income, particularly that rely solely on social security, are really having a hard time making ends meet and being able to pay rising utility costs, rising price of groceries and rising cost of prescription costs,” Miller said.
About one fourth of the state’s social security recipients 65 and older rely almost entirely on their benefits, according to Miller.
She also noted that social security recipients use their benefits to inject $7.9 billion into the state’s economy every year.
The announcement comes on the heels of news that Medicare Part B premiums will drop 3 percent next year.
Kilolo Kijakazi, acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration, said the changes “will give seniors more peace of mind and breathing room.”
“This year’s substantial Social Security cost-of-living adjustment is the first time in over a decade that Medicare premiums are not rising and shows that we can provide more support to older Americans who count on the benefits they have earned,” Kijakazi said in a news release.