CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Millions of Americans on social security will soon have more money in their pockets. Retirees will get a 5.9% increase in benefits for 2022. That’s the highest cost-of-living adjustment in nearly 40 years.

“If you look at our numbers here in the Mountain State, we have nearly half a million West Virginians that depend on the benefits provided by social security. Over 475,000 social security beneficiaries in the Mountain State,” Tom Hunter, Associate State Director of AARP West Virginia said.

The increase in benefits is due to inflation. Prices are very high for items such as food and gas, and a supply chain that’s having more problems than it can count.

“Of that 475,000, more than 35% depend on social security for 90% or more of their household income,” Hunter said.

The estimated increase average for social security payments for a retired worker will be a little more than $1,600 a month next year. A typical couple’s benefits would rise by up to $150 per month, making the maximum total $2,753 per month.

“Any help we can provide, particularly those living on fixed income is so crucial key at this moment in time,” Hunter said.

Social security affects about one in five Americans nationwide providing 90% of their income. It’s unknown when or how much the next increase will be.

“We urge policymakers to work together to ensure the long-term solvency and adequacy of social security moving forward,” Hunter said.

Increased payments to approximately $8,000,000 SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2021.