The Social Security Administration makes it official Thursday: There will be no cost of living increase for Social Security recipients next year, the first year without one since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975.
The announcement comes as President Barack Obama and key members of Congress call for a second round of $250 payments to more than 50 million seniors, veterans, retired railroad workers and people with disabilities.
The payments would be equal to about a 2 percent increase for the average Social Security recipient. The cost: $13 billion.
Obama called on Congress Wednesday to approve the payments, and several key members of Congress said they would.
"This additional assistance will be especially important in the coming months, as countless seniors and others have seen their retirement accounts and home values decline as a result of this economic crisis," Obama said in a statement.
Blame falling consumer prices for no automatic increase next year. By law, Social Security's cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is pegged to inflation, which was negative this year, due largely to falling energy costs.
The $250 payments would go to Social Security recipients as well as those receiving veterans benefits or disability benefits, railroad retirees and retired public employees who don't receive Social Security. Recipients would be limited to one payment, even if they qualified for more.