President Joe Biden continues highlighting the massive boost in Social Security benefits that will take effect in 2023.
His claims, however, are missing important details: Although Biden fails to mention it, the high inflation rate of recent years is the primary driver of the massive rise in the rate of pay that will be implemented in 2023. Similarly, the White House’s erroneous Twitter message from Tuesday was removed on Wednesday after receiving widespread backlash and a fact-check from Twitter.During a speech on Tuesday in Florida, Biden again erroneously said that the 2023 boost in Social Security payouts would be the first increase in payments in a decade. All four years of the Trump administration, as well as the first two years of the Biden administration, saw increases.
In recent weeks, Biden has made frequent mention of the significant increase in SSI benefits that is scheduled to take effect in 2023. When listing his achievements as president, he has brought up the raise.
In a speech last week at a Democratic fundraiser, President Biden claimed, “On our watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are going to earn the largest increase in their Social Security payments they’ve gotten.”
White House’s eight million-plus follower Twitter account was even more forthright in attributing the growth to Biden. There was a tweet on Tuesday that said, “Seniors are enjoying the greatest raise in their Social Security payments in 10 years with President Biden’s efforts,” but it has since been removed.
The 8.7 percent hike in 2023 is the largest in recent memory; in fact, it’s the largest since 1981. However, this isn’t due to Biden’s successes.
Cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, are the term used to describe the increment. We need to know why in 2023 there will be an increase of 8.7 percent to account for inflation. Reason being that in the third quarter of 2022, average prices rose 8.7% from average prices in the third quarter of 2021, as assessed by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).
Gary Engelhardt, an economics professor at Syracuse University who specializes in Social Security, was asked to comment on the White House’s claim that “President Biden’s leadership” was responsible for the rise and said, “This assumption is inaccurate.”
The rate of rise in the Consumer Price Index is used to calculate the Social Security COLA, which is required by law (and has been for decades) (i.e., inflation). Vice President Biden has no influence over either. Politically, it’s a really good idea, Engelhardt said in an email on Wednesday, since it puts a bright light on an issue (inflation) that has been hurting his standing with the public.
Mary Johnson, a policy expert on Social Security and Medicare with the senior advocacy organization The Senior Citizens League, likewise found the White House’s assertion to be false.
If inflation rises, the next year’s Social Security payments to retirees will be higher than the previous year’s payments. “It seems like Biden is attempting to create lemonade out of the inflation lemon by taking credit in this way,” Johnson wrote in an email on Wednesday.
Since Medicare Part B premiums, which are deducted from people’s Social Security payments every month if they are enrolled in both programs, are going down next year, giving seniors a bigger “NET Social Security check,” Teresa Ghilarducci, an economics professor at The New School, argued in an email that the White House tweet is “mostly true.” As an explanation for the decrease in Medicare rates, Ghilarducci pointed to the Biden administration’s work to reduce prescription costs.
We respectfully submit that “largely accurate” is much too generous, regardless of the cause of the decline in Medicare rates. Average monthly Social Security payouts will rise by $146 due to a cost-of-living increase that has nothing to do with any success by Vice President Joe Biden, but the normal Medicare premium will decrease by $5.20 per month for unknown reasons.
In other words, by 2023, inflation, not any achievement in regulating prescription costs, will be the primary factor in why seniors will get more money each month.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, when asked at a conference on Wednesday about why the tweet was removed, replied, “Look, the post was not full. In most cases, we provide background information or links to related content when tweeting. And it lacked the necessary background.”