(08/25/2009)
Millions of older people are facing no raises on their Social Security checks next year.

It's the first time in a generation that payments will not increase.

The trustees who oversee Social Security say there won't be a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the next two years.

It hasn't happened since automatic increases were adopted in 1975.

Social Security benefits cannot go down.

Nevertheless, monthly payments would drop for millions of people in the Medicare prescription drug program because the premiums, which often are deducted from Social Security payments, are scheduled to go up slightly.

Cost of living adjustments are hooked to inflation, which has been negative this year, largely because energy prices are below 2008 levels.

Advocates say older people still face higher prices because they spend a disproportionate amount of their income on health care.

About 50 million retired and disabled Americans receive Social Security benefits.

There are more than 32 million people in the Medicare prescription drug program.

Average monthly premiums are set to go from $28 this year to $30 next year.

Millions of people with Medicare Part B coverage for doctors' visits also have their premiums deducted from Social Security payments.

Part B premiums are expected to rise as well.


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