Skip to content

Fact Check: Joe Biden – Joe Biden’s boast about Social Security inflation adjustment is Pants on Fire

Just days before the close of the midterm elections, President Joe Biden touted his commitment to “protecting Social Security and Medicare and lowering prescription drug costs.”

But as he spoke in Hallandale Beach, Florida, Biden went factually overboard praising his own actions on Social Security.

“On my watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are getting an increase in their Social Security checks,” he said at the Nov. 1 community center event. 

That is inaccurate: Under a longstanding law, Social Security cost-of-living adjustments occur automatically, based on a formula tied to inflation. Seniors have received increases nearly every year for the last 10 years.

The White House did not respond to our request for an explanation of Biden’s remarks.

The White House also made a separate but similar statement on Twitter that prompted criticism. 

“Seniors are getting the biggest increase in their Social Security checks in 10 years through President Biden’s leadership,” the White House said in the tweet, which it later deleted after Twitter attached a note saying the tweet lacked context. 

Biden doesn’t deserve credit for the increase, which is set by a law approved in 1972.

The amount of the automatic cost-of-living increase is determined by how much the consumer price index rises from the third quarter of the previous year to the third quarter of the current year. The provision took effect in 1975. Prior to that, benefits had to be increased by congressional action.

In each of the past 10 years, Social Security recipients received a cost-of-living adjustment, except for 2016, when the inflation rate was low enough that no adjustment was necessary.

 

With inflation currently at a four-decade high, the Social Security Administration announced a cost-of-living increase of 8.7% for 2023, a bigger percentage than any year since 1981.

Our ruling

Biden said, “On my watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are getting an increase in their Social Security checks.”

In reality, Social Security recipients have received an inflation adjustment for nine of the past 10 years. The adjustments are based on a key inflation measure, as mandated by a 1972 law. 

We rate the statement Pants on Fire!

Source: PolitiFact.