WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The expected Social Security cost of living increase for seniors will be wiped out by increasing Medicare payments, a U.S. senior citizens advocacy group says.
After two years of no Social Security cost of living increases, The Senior Citizens League says seniors may see a 1.1 percent COLA increase in 2012 and an increase of 1.2 percent COLA in 2013.
However, the expected increased cost of Medicare may wipe out any Social Security increase, the groups says.
The Senior Citizens League said nearly half of senior citizens are receiving lower Social Security checks in 2011 after Medicare premiums are deducted -- of these, one in four are receiving at least $50 less per month, and one in nine are receiving at least $100 less per month.
"Cost of living adjustments need to keep pace with rising expenses, including increases in Medicare premiums," Larry Hyland, chairman of The Senior Citizens League, says in a statement.
"If they don't, millions of seniors who are already stretched thin will have to find more ways to tighten their belts. We may also see many more seniors falling below the poverty line."
Almost 70 percent of beneficiaries depend on Social Security for 50 percent or more of their retirement income and for 15 percent, Social Security is their sole source of income, Hyland says.