Social Security benefits to go up by 1.5%

Social Security benefits for nearly 58 million people will increase by 1.5 percent next year.

The annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is based on a government measure of inflation that was released Wednesday morning.

The increase is among the smallest since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975. It is small because consumer prices haven't gone up much in the past year.

While playing bridge at the

Town of





enior Center, Charles Lockwood, 77, says he's one of the lucky ones.

"Social Security comes in handy for the incidentals. I don't depend on it that much but it's nice. I use it to help my grandchildren and we travel," says Lockwood.

Lockwood realizes not everyone is as lucky, even some of his friends like Gloria Head, 82 and Carla Fuess, 81.

"I think it's very good. Even though it's not very much, any little bit helps," says Fuess.

"The one and a half is okay. I'll be okay. But naturally I would like more," says Head.

The COLA affects benefits for more than one-fifth of the country. In addition to Social Security payments, it affects benefits for millions of disabled veterans, federal retirees and people who get Supplemental Security Income, the disability program for the poor.

Social Security pays the average retired worker $1,272 a month. A 1.5 percent raise comes to about $19.