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Statement by AARP CEO Bill Novelli on the 2006 Social Security COLA


Contact: AARP Media Relations, 202-434-2560,

Today the Social Security Administration announced a 4.1 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), the largest since 1990. Usually a record increase would be welcome news for America's 48 million Social Security beneficiaries. But this COLA is being eaten up by rising gasoline and heating costs, another double-digit increase in the monthly Medicare Part B premium and escalating healthcare bills. AARP believes that more should be done to prevent the future erosion of Social Security COLAs by controlling sharply rising healthcare costs.

Because this year's COLA increase is being washed away by other cost increases, we need to make sure older Americans don't drown under the added burden. AARP has been fighting to protect the guaranteed benefits of Social Security. The annual Social Security COLA is a lifeline for eight-out-of-ten Americans ages 65 and over who rely on Social Security as their largest source of income.

The Social Security COLA is the only guaranteed protection retired Americans have against rising prices. Without the protection of the Social Security COLA, inflation over the past ten years would have reduced beneficiaries' income by over 25 percent. While we search for ways to keep Social Security whole, we must not forget that cost of living adjustments that are a guaranteed part of the current program, help keep Americans' retirements whole.

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