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Gas Prices Affect Social Security Benefits

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Analysts say the numbers are being dragged down by lower gas prices. Analysts say the numbers are being dragged down by lower gas prices.

For the third time in 40 years, millions of Americans will see no increase in their Social Security benefits. It's unwelcomed news for nearly one-fifth of the nation's population.

The only other times there has been no increase in benefits was in 2010 and 2011. It's all linked to something called COLA  or the annual cost-of-living adjustment. The figures are based on a government measure of inflation.

On Thursday, the government is expected to announce the COLA, or lack of one, when it releases the "Consumer Price Index" for September. Analysts say the numbers are being dragged down by lower gas prices.

In all, the COLA affects the more than 70 million Americans, many of which are federal retirees, disabled workers, spouses and children who get Social Security benefits.

Also, the lack of a COLA could mean higher health care costs for some older Americans. It's estimated those on "Medicare Part B" will see premiums jump by about $54 a month.

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