CCU professor: Myrtle Beach economy stands to benefit from Social Security increase

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY (WBTW) — The upcoming cost-of-living raise for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income recipients stands to benefit the Grand Strand more than other areas, according to a Coastal Carolina University professor.

Benefits will go up by 5.9% for 2022, representing one of the highest increases in decades.

“Myrtle Beach’s economy can benefit maybe more than other regions of our country given that we have more retirees in this region,” said Sourav Batabyal, an assistant economics professor at CCU. “That can have a trickle-down effect to other sectors also like food, services and hospitality.”

Mike and Martha Francis, 76 and 66 respectively, are both retired and live in Horry County. They are part of the more than 25% of Horry Count residents who are 65 or older.

The retired couple collects about $1,600 a month in Social Security.

“We about break even every month,” Mike said.

“Yeah, we do,” Martha added. “Sometimes there’s a little more, and sometimes there’s not.”

The adjustment increase comes at a time when prices for goods and services are 5.4% higher, according to the Consumer Price Index calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“As far as cost of living, I’d wish they’d bring some of the gas down, some of the groceries down, things that you’ve got to have anyway,” Mike said. “That would help out a whole lot.”

“It would, ” Martha added.

The two said they’re used to making ends meet because of their experience of raising four children. With the primary focus on paying monthly bills, shopping habits come second.

“You go to the grocery store and you buy whatever is on sale and plan your meals that way,” Martha said. “If chicken’s on sale, you get chicken.”

The couple wishes the increase would be higher to give them a little more wiggle room each month.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot, but anything will help,” Martha said.

Batabyal said there is a balance to benefit increases.

“Because if you give too much money, that also creates even more inflation,” he said.

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