KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Social Security Administration announced an 8.7% cost of living increase for all social security recipients in the new year. In 2022, the Administration raised it by 5.9%, but the rate of inflation approached 9% as the year went on.
Carl Reichert, a Knoxville man who receives Social Security benefits, said that added up to about $80 every month. However, in April, he said that raise went away in a tank of gas and one week of groceries. It wasn't enough to offset rising prices, he said.
"Went back to Save-A-Lot and discount groceries to make things even again," Reichert said. "It ain't gonna happen."
Now, he's looking at about a $120 increase.
"It's tough, but the raise will help," Reichert said.
Gas prices have lowered throughout this year, but Reichert said food prices have continued to climb, making it difficult for him to catch up. The Consumer Price Index said nationally, food prices are still up by about 10% over last year. It also said that the rate of increase, month by month, is slowing.
Reichert said through it all, his saving grace has been the meals at the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee's O'Connor Senior Center in Knoxville.
He said he and his friends gather, play pool and eat meals at the center. CAC asks for a donation, and Reichert said he gives what he can. Reichert said he and his neighbors have also begun to collect coupons and carpool to save money.
"They get together, four or five at one time, three or four in a car," Reichert said. "It really helps."
He said he hopes prices will stop rising so he can afford to go back to regular grocery stores.