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Published: Aug 11, 2022 4 min read
Photo collage of a person holding a giant envelope from the IRS containing a Stimulus Check
Money; Getty Images

If you receive Social Security retirement benefits, you might actually be rooting for inflation next month. That’s because the U.S. government will use price data from July, August and September to calculate monthly benefits for next year — and the higher inflation climbs, the bigger the check will be.

Skyrocketing prices have had Social Security recipients speculating for months that a significant increase in the cost of living adjustment (COLA) is coming, and it’s looking likely (though inflation is cooling a bit). Food costs, for instance, went up 1.1% in July, the seventh consecutive monthly increase of 0.9% or more.

The latest estimate, based on data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hints at a COLA for 2023 of as much as 9.6%. That would mean the average retiree would see a $159 monthly increase in their benefits — about $1,900 for the year, according to the Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan advocacy group for older adults.