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Collage of a senior couple with a social security card in the background
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Inflation is causing serious financial hardships for many people, and one group in particular has been anticipating some relief: retirees.

The good news for them is that the Social Security Administration announced the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) for beneficiaries Wednesday morning, and it's the largest increase since 1982. In 2022, the monthly checks will be 5.9% higher, just a hair lower than recent predictions of 6.0% to 6.1%.

The 5.9% increase is significantly higher than 1.4%, which has been the average COLA over the past 12 years. The annual COLA increase is calculated to help people cope with inflation – which is why it will be so high in 2022. But the increase is based on how the expenses of working people are rising, and critics say it doesn't accurately reflect the shopping basket, so to speak, of older Americans. They spend more on housing and medical expenses, which have experienced intense inflation recently.