COLA wars: Social Security beneficiaries won't get a raise next year

The Social Security Administration announced Thursday that there will not be a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) next year -- marking the first year since 1975 that Social Security recipients have not had an annual increase.

For 34 years, retirees have probably viewed the yearly COLA as their birthright. But the uptick isn't an in-step raise -- it's a benefit increase tied to the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W). In fact, until 1986, the CPI-W had to go up by at least 3 percent before social security beneficiaries would qualify for a COLA. Today, there only needs to be an increase of 0.1 percent before the Social Security Administration approves a COLA.