No increase in Social Security benefits next year, officials say

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government says there will be no benefit increase next year for millions of Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees.

It's just the third time in 40 years that benefits will remain flat. All three times have come since 2010.

The main reason for no increase next year is low gas prices.

By law, the annual cost-of-living adjustment — or COLA — is based on a government measure of inflation. The government said Thursday that inflation is being pulled down by lower gasoline prices.

The announcement will affect benefits for more than 70 million people — that's more than one-fifth of the nation's population.

The total includes almost 60 million retirees, disabled workers, spouses and children who get Social Security benefits.