No Increase in Social Security Benefits in 2016

WASHINGTON — Bad news if you or a loved one gets money from Social Security. Your direct deposit from Uncle Sam won’t get any larger next year.

The government is not increasing benefits in 2016 because there’s not much inflation, due to the fact that gasoline prices have been lower this year.

This is just the third time in 40 years that there won’t be a boost in benefits. The other years were pretty recent, too — 2010 and 2011.

By law, Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, can only be increased if the government’s measure of inflation goes up. And prices have actually dropped from a year ago, according to the inflation figure that determines the COLA.

One in five Americans will be impacted. Retirees, disabled workers, surviving spouses and orphans get Social Security benefits. The average monthly payment is $1,224.