Blame soft inflation, including the nearly 30% drop in gas prices over the past year. The official price measure used to calculate the annual living-cost adjustment was down 0.4% from last year’s level in the third quarter, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Congress adopted the formula in the 1970s. While it has resulted in an average benefit increase of 4.1% over the past 40 years, benefits have gone up an average of just 2% over the past 10 years. There were no increases for 2010 and 2011.
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