For about 70 million Social Security beneficiaries, payments will increase in December and January.

My wife Celeste and I are part of that 70 million, most of whom have benefits around $1,656, and the 8.7 percent increase means, on average, seniors will see about $145 added on as a cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA).

Don't confuse this with being a benefit boost; it's an adjustment to keep pace with inflation.

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The 8.7 percent hike is the largest in 40 years, as an attempt to close that gap caused by inflation. Compare this hike to the COLA increases over the last 10 years that were less than two percent every year.

Social Security is the primary source of retirement income for most of us seniors. For one in four, their social security check is all they have to stay alive, and if we don't have another fund, like a pension or job, then we have to budget every dollar very carefully.

For that reason, this 8.7 percent increase sounds like a nice bonus, but when you do the simple math, the extra money is just a break-even number to balance the cost of high inflation.

There is some fairly good news in all this. The COLA announcement follows a slight drop in the price by three percent for the premium for Medicare Part B, which covers hospital and doctor visits.

I welcome the adjustment, and am grateful that COLA fills in the gap every year at this time – but the extra money is so we can be neck and neck with inflation.

Buildings Featured in the New Bedford Pathways Historical Walking Tours

A series of new app-based walking tours called New Bedford Pathways will teach the unique architecture of New Bedford and stories of the people who have dwelled among it. Here, New Bedford Preservation Society Administrator Pat Daughton, who produced the tours, shares a photo of one stop from each of the tours along with information about the location.

Inside New Bedford's Capitol Theater

New Bedford's long-dormant Capitol Theater is set to undergo a $6 million restoration project that will convert the former movie house into a mixed-use facility. Here's how it looks today.

WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.

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