How will you spend the extra money in your Social Security check?

Social Security Cards WikiSocial Security recipients will be getting an extra $19 a month next year as part of one of the smallest cost of living increases in the program’s history.

Click here to read my column in The Wall Street Journal Sunday. And click here for more information from the Social Security Administration. $19 is the average increase you can expect.

This, of course, doesn’t even pay a monthly cable TV bill, but it might buy a trip to the movies – assuming you go to a matinee and hold back on the popcorn.

You might also try getting a smart phone from a lesser-known carrier. Click here to see one for $19 a month.

What will you do with the extra $19? Please tell me in the comments section below.

I talk about this and other news with Will Ripley of Denver’ NBC affiliate 9news. Click here if the video below does not appear in your browser.


  1. “Hey 19″happens to be my lucky number so I’ll put it on a horse at Tampa Bay Downs. You can see my picks on the NY News.

  2. I got my SS statement for 2014 and guess what? I got an extra $23 raise BUT the Part B went from $105.50 to $150.80 and Part D went from $9.40 to $16.10…so I only net $3.00 a month. I don’t understand why I still have to pay $32 monthly for a supplemental insurance policy but I can only laugh. Why did I work so hard for this lack of money?

  3. I get a fairly “high” income because I’m on SSDI. So I get about $30 more a month. Whoo-hoo, I’ve won the lottery. It will go toward the 700/month I pay in medication each month. Except one of those expensive meds is going generic next month. Score!

  4. I hope it is enough to offset the increase i will get for my health insurance premium. Oh that’s right, the premium was suppose to go down under the affordable care act. What is wrong with this picture


  5. I apologize in the delay in posting a response as to how I will spend my COLA. I wanted to wait until I received all the new rates for 2014. So, my $18 will cover the increase in Part D which was $6.00, however my Medicare Supplement went up by about $36… it seems the government should owe me money (ha ha ha). The only medication that I take, since it’s not generic, is considered a Tier 3 or 4 so I pay full amount. If the fat assess in D.C. give themselves a raise (much more than 1.5%), we peons should be entitled to the same. Why are they above struggling like the rest of “middle” America?….if such a thing even exists anymore. Thank you.

  6. I READ WHERE $19 will bring most folks up to 1,294 a month. I wish I got that much. Maybe I could keep food in the house. When I was working, some years I made 1.00 an hour. The most I ever made was 10.00 an hour. So how was I supposed to save for retirement?

    • I have 10 years where I posted not a penny in SS earning & never made more then $13.50/hour & I get $300 more than you. How can this be?

  7. I get $730.00 a month between ssdi and ssi so with the extra which really isnt extra i will put that $19.00 towards Food because i have too!

  8. As many of your commenters have noted, Social Security beneficiaries’ COLA will be consumed by increases in our Medicare insurance premiums and our Medicare supplemental insurance costs. Nice to imagine we’ll be able to spend those few bucks on something else, but: No such luck.
    Last year my SSA benefit went up $27.07. My Medicare premium increase ate up 22.22% of that sweet bonus and my supplemental insurance — without which no local health facility or physician will deign to see me — gobbled up an additional 79.34%, leaving me with .44% or 12¢ to spend on anything my heart desired.
    Bottom line: the COLA was and is a gift to that goes almost directly into the coffers of the insurance industry from the Social Security Trust Fund, to which we all contributed during our working lives.
    Doubtless the 2014 COLA will, like past COLAs, ensure an uninterrupted stream of cash to insurers, leaving American seniors a little poorer and the insurance industry ever richer.

  9. One of my meds just went from a Tier 2 to a Tier 4 so it won’t cover the cost but it will help. My God, is anyone listening to the public?

  10. I’ll use it to cover the increased costs in my PDP and Medicare supplement–what else? That’s what it’s for, right: an increased cost of living. But, hmm, lots of other things are going up in price, too.

  11. I think I either will laminate your column or buy a frame for them. Congratulations on telling it as it is.

  12. What’s the point? My supplemental insurance premium increased by $22/month, Part D Rx plan premium increased by $5…..I guess I should be thankful for anything I can get, right? “They” should be ashamed of themselves, everyone involved. Much of my disgust comes from the insurance company shysters.

  13. I will use it to stock my pantry. I purchased metal shelves and buy extra staples whenever they are on sale. I eat a simple diet so peanut butter, oatmeal and dried beans are always plentiful.

  14. It’s better than nothing. I hope everyone will remember to vote all the rich old farts out of office next time.

    • Al: Your column on our COLA was right on! The politicians are destroying the middle class, killing the seniors. We MUST get rid of our current representatives. Vote them ALL out.

  15. I may be fortunate (or not) in that I don’t have to make a decision on what to do with the 1.5% increase in Social Security. My Mutual of Omaha Medicare supplemental insurance premium has just increased by 26%, from $135 to $166 per month. Drug plan premium has gone up too. Ah well, there’s always 2015.

  16. 19.00 let me count the ways. My supplemental medical ins went up 10.00 and in July it will probably be another 10.00, my prescription is going up 12.00 so that’s it!!!!

  17. Between my wife’s social security and my federal pension we will see an increase of $50.00 in our pensions. Our medical insurance just sent us a notice that our premium will be increased by $60.00 and thats just one item.

  18. Let me count the ways; space rent in the mobile park where I live just went up $27 a month formerly 0 premium Medicare Advantage plan will be $28 in the year 2014 vision plan which was $10 a month in 2013 will be $15.35 in 2014.
    So with the $19.00 COLA I will be $41.35 a month in the red. All this after working 47 years and getting less $1,700 a month for retirement.

  19. This COLA increase reminds me of the wonderful tax cut that Obama brags about (of course Obama was lying, it wasn’t a tax cut because it cut the contribution to Soc Sec not taxes) but that amounted to $15 a week for most people.

  20. I’ll use it to pay 2/3rds of my monthly membership at the YMCA so I can stay healthily enough to keep working my two jobs so I can actually pay my bills

  21. I like the idea of getting lottery tickets, however I’ll buy bond paper and use it to print my resume or toilet paper to wipe my ass for all the good $19 will do.

  22. Well Elliot, you should not go Mouse hunting with a 12 Ga. Shotgun using 00 Buckshot. For your information some of us had no choice. I was forced to retire on a disability in 1989. My health broke down. I had no choice. What savings I had went real fast. So don’t be so quick to judge everyone else when you have no idea what the H— you are talking about. Have a nice day.

    • this $19 increase in my check will be taking away from me by my Subsidized Housing building in my next recertification appointment

  23. In Kalamazoo, Mich., $19 will secure 5 or 6 rounds of 9-hole golf for mobile seniors over a one-mile walking course.

  24. If there’s anything left over after the increase in Medicare premium, it will probably cover the tip on an order of breakfast tacos.

  25. I’ll go to the Dollar Store and buy candles so I’ll have light when they turn my electricity off because I can’t pay the bill.

  26. You were right on. You said “even the rent on the concrete pad under a trailer home could go up”. I read your column yesterday, got my mail and received a letter
    advising my lot rent is going up $13. My “extra” money will be $19. I have $6.00 to splurge!

  27. Al, you sound as if it was the intention of social security to provide you with gas for your corporate Jet. When originally started in 1935 it was meant to provide about 1/3 of your retirement needs. Most Americans realized that and provided for the other 2/3 of thier retirement needs during thier working years. Too many Americans did not help themselves by being responceable for thier own retirement years and are attempting to live on Social Security alone. Tough isn’t it ? Whose fault is that ? Not your Government. You have made your bed, try sleeping in it and stop complaining about your annual COL.

    • I agree Elliot. I think Al was just lazy and wanted to join the “give away” group. No inflation, no COLA. Myabe Al would rather have Jimmy Carter and Volker with rampant inflation and a big increase [which is never enough] in the social security check. Boring Al.

  28. As my Insurance is going up and I will most likely have to pay more in Tax’s, I may actually take home less than I do now.

  29. COLA- Congress on leave again!!
    I am soooooo… Sick of looking at our Old White Men representatives in congress /senate . These people live in a vacuum where access is purchased by making sure the average white, brown, black, yellow guy isn’t allowed a foothold for fear of the public actually being able to do the calculus of what 1.7% means in real terms. Again the few powerful manipulating the larger group of average folks.

  30. I will only br gritting a $15.00 increase. As the projected Medicare premiums will go up $18.00, I will be in the hole. However, my husband will get $20.00 so it will only be $1.00 decrease. What raise???

  31. Since I receive less SS than most, I will be accumulating my COLA through December in order to pay for my yearly blow job.

  32. I’m going to spend my first $19.00 for gas to go to the courthouse to change my registration to Independent.

  33. I would buy yarn to crochet a couple afghans. They will keep us warm as we turn the themostat down so our heating bill won’t be so high. But first, we have to get it fixed because it doesn’t work.

  34. I am doing OK. I will give an extra $10 to charity or a food bank each month. OR save it for future unexpected medical expenses.

  35. Al, as usual you are spot on about the COLA increase. I am going to take the puny 20 bucks per month(I rounded up) and go to the Casino and hope to hit the Jackpot. It only seems fitting since that is the kind of behavior our government rewards. Hitting the jackpot will mean I get to give the Government some more of my money. It’s like bad luck: you can’t kill it and it won’t die.

  36. COLA is not a raise for a job well done. It is an adjustment to help with the rising cost of living. Then when a tiny change in prescription medications raises your cost by $19 you have the money to pay it. COLA is not supposed to be giving you money for new luxuries. It is just to cover the life you have been living.

  37. As usual you are spot on Al! I am going to take my $20 per month (I rounded up)to the casino and play poker with it. If I hit the jackpot I will not have to worry about puny cola increases for a long time.

  38. That $19.00 per month will permit me to operate my gas fireplace for three hours per day . . . But!

    But only if it’s not otherwise consumed by some obscure aspect of Obamacare.

  39. Whole buncha whining going on here…I haven’t gotten ANY kind of a raise since 2008. I was laid-off in 2009 and am presently making 25% less now than I was in 2009. I am NOT retired now (I’m 62 and still working full time to support a family of 3) and don’t know when I’ll be able to. Be thankful that you were / are able to retire.

  40. I vote Al Lewis for president. Thanks for the article Al. The spare change I get after the medicare increase will go toward my grandson’s medical degree.

  41. Let’s see; I’m going to buy, my wife and I a 60-day supply of “depression”, medication. WOW, $19; I had visions of being part of the 1%. Well maybe next year. I say to those in DC; “you can’t fix stupid”……..

  42. Wow, I can finally afford to send money to the wounded warrior project. I think the 19 dollars should cover that.

  43. As usual, most of the increase will be swallowed up by the increase in the Medicare part B premium. So there won’t be much left for a party! I’d like to see one of them in DC try to live on $1,219/month. Not everyone has a pension coming from an old job they used to have.

  44. Lucky me! The $19 is nearly enough to cover the $20.53 my supplemental insurance will increase in Jan., 2014.

  45. I’d give the $19 to my kid. You forgot to mention that most of what retirees are getting is borrowed and someone has to pay it back. The COLA is tough for retirees but wait for what todays kids will have to deal with. What our government is doing is immoral because kids don’t get to vote. Shame on anyone who supports robbing from future generations.

    • And boy are we getting rich on it!!!
      For your information, the $1.00 I paid in was worth $10.00 in today’s money.
      I think it is disgraceful when you see what those jackasses in DC give themselves for a raise. Stop beating up on us old guy’s and start voting to remove all of them.Starting with your friend, B.O.!!!

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