Cost-Of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Information for 2024

On October 12th, Social Security published a press release regarding the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2024. This release announced an 3.2% benefit increase for 2024. See the SSA press release below.

Social Security News Release

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Contact: Mark Hinkle, Press Officer

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 71 million Americans will increase 3.2 percent in 2024, the Social Security Administration announced today. On average, Social Security retirement benefits will increase by more than $50 per month starting in January.

More than 66 million Social Security beneficiaries will see the 3.2 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) beginning in January 2024. Increased payments to approximately 7.5 million people receiving SSI will begin on December 29, 2023. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits).

“Social Security and SSI benefits will increase in 2024, and this will help millions of people keep up with expenses,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security.

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $168,600 from $160,200.

Social Security begins notifying people about their new benefit amount by mail starting in early December. Individuals who have a personal my Social Security account can view their COLA notice online, which is secure, easy, and faster than receiving a letter in the mail. People can set up text or email alerts when there is a new message–such as their COLA notice–waiting for them in my Social Security.

People will need to have a my Social Security account by November 14 to see their COLA notice online. To get started, visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount.

Information about Medicare changes for 2024 will be available at www.medicare.gov. For Social Security beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare, their new 2024 benefit amount will be available in December through the mailed COLA notice and my Social Security’s Message Center.

The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To read more, please visit www.ssa.gov/cola.

NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS: Here is a fact sheet showing the effect of the various automatic adjustments.

History of Automatic Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA)

The purpose of the COLA is to ensure that the purchasing power of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits is not eroded by inflation.  It is based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of the last year a COLA was determined to the third quarter of the current year.  If there is no increase, there can be no COLA.

The CPI-W is determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Department of Labor.  By law, it is the official measure used by the Social Security Administration to calculate COLAs.

Congress enacted the COLA provision as part of the 1972 Social Security Amendments, and automatic annual COLAs began in 1975.  Before that, benefits were increased only when Congress enacted special legislation.

Beginning in 1975, Social Security started automatic annual cost-of-living allowances.  The change was enacted by legislation that ties COLAs to the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W).

The change means that inflation no longer drains value from Social Security benefits.

Below are the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) fact sheets from the past several years:

The 1975-82 COLAs were effective with Social Security benefits payable for June (received by beneficiaries in July) in each of those years.  After 1982, COLAs have been effective with benefits payable for December (received by beneficiaries in January).

Automatic Cost-Of-Living Adjustments Received Since 1975

July 1975 — 8.0%

July 1976 — 6.4%

July 1977 — 5.9%

July 1978 — 6.5%

July 1979 — 9.9%

July 1980 — 14.3%

July 1981 — 11.2%

July 1982 — 7.4%

January 1984 — 3.5%

January 1985 — 3.5%

January 1986 — 3.1%

January 1987 — 1.3%

January 1988 — 4.2%

January 1989 — 4.0%

January 1990 — 4.7%

January 1991 — 5.4%

January 1992 — 3.7%

January 1993 — 3.0%

January 1994 — 2.6%

January 1995 — 2.8%

January 1996 — 2.6%

January 1997 — 2.9%

January 1998 — 2.1%

January 1999 — 1.3%

January 2000 — 2.5%

January 2001 — 3.5%

January 2002 — 2.6%

January 2003 — 1.4%

January 2004 — 2.1%

January 2005 — 2.7%

January 2006 — 4.1%

January 2007 — 3.3%

January 2008 — 2.3%

January 2009 — 5.8%

January 2010 — 0.0%

January 2011 — 0.0%

January 2012 — 3.6%

January 2013 — 1.7%

January 2014 — 1.5%

January 2015 — 1.7%

January 2016 — 0.0%

January 2017 — 0.3%

January 2018 — 2.0%

January 2019 — 2.8%

January 2020 — 1.6%

January 2021 — 1.3%

January 2022 — 5.9%

January 2023 — 8.7%

January 2024 — 3.2%

The COLA for December 1999 was originally determined as 2.4 percent based on CPIs published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Pursuant to Public Law 106-554, this COLA is effectively now 2.5 percent.

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