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As Fears Of Inflation Grow, Those Eligible For Social Security To See Near-6% Increase In Benefits In 2022

HICKSVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The latest consumer price index has Washington and Wall Street worried about inflation, and so are consumers of all ages, even as the Social Security Administration announced that it will boost benefits for seniors.

Jimmy Fiore of Hickville isn't surprised that consumer prices jumped more than expected last month -- 5.4%, with food costs, especially meat and dairy, surging.

"I'm 69 years old. I've been through inflation before," Fiore told CBS2's Jennifer McLogan on Wednesday.

Due to the burst in inflation, Fiore and other retirees are learning that their Social Security benefits will jump 5.9% next year, the biggest boost in four decades -- about $92 a month, as prices for cars, housing, and furniture soar.

"I would welcome that 5.9. I would like it," Fiore said.

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The increase, known as cost of living adjustment, will affect 70 million Americans.

However, Joan Tynan, a retiree from Forest Hills, Queens who was shopping with her granddaughter on Wednesday, said she is skeptical.

"An increase is always nice, but if you pay for it down the road?" Tynan said.

Martin Melkonian, a professor at Hofstra University's Zarb School of Business, said, "I suspect this may not be permanent, that we have great ability to produce enough output in order for us to avoid long-term inflation."

Energy, weather, labor, bottlenecks, transportation are all contributing to inflation. The supply chain problem is worrying consumers of all ages.

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When asked if "inflation" is a scary word, nursing student Emily Lewis said, "It is, considering I am living paycheck to paycheck as a college student."

"Entering the job market is terrifying if the word 'inflation' is hanging over your head," journalism student Alexandra Whitbeck added.

Many hope it's a blip, with a temporary solution.

"Don't panic, but buy ahead if you can. If something is on special, or you can buy ahead and freeze it, it would probably be good to do that, especially coming into Thanksgiving," said Jake Tavello, vice president of Stew Leonard's.

"Stores have a lot of apps, coupons in the Sunday paper that I clip. I try to go from store to store to see where I can get the best buys," Uniondale teacher Nathaniel Wilcox added.

As the holidays approach, experts advise against panic buying.

Some critics of the Social Security boost say a one-time cost of living adjustment is not the solution.

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