Falling gas prices means no Social Security COLA next year

In this Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, photo, Carol Mead decorates her home for Halloween, in Montrose, Pa. Mead, 67, is retired and her husband, 70, must work at a local rock quarry to close the gap from her Social Security. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen)
In this Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, photo, Carol Mead decorates her home for Halloween, in Montrose, Pa. Mead, 67, is retired and her husband, 70, must work at a local rock quarry to close the gap from her Social Security. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen)

WASHINGTON (AP) – For just the third time in 40 years, millions of Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees can expect no increase in benefits next year.

They can blame low gas prices.

By law, the annual cost-of-living adjustment – known as COLA – is based on a government measure of inflation. It’s called the Consumer Price Index, and it’s being dragged down by lower prices at the pump.

That’s unwelcome news for more than one-fifth of the U.S. population.

The government is set to announce the COLA – or lack of one – on Thursday, when it releases the Consumer Price Index for September.

Inflation has been so low this year that economists say there’s little hope the September numbers will produce a benefit increase for next year.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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