The Social Security Administration releases its 2024 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) tomorrow, October 12, impacting millions of retirees, with the figure expecting to show a 3.2% increase.
In 2023, Social Security benefits got an 8.7% COLA, the largest cost-of-living adjustment since 1981. According to the United States Social Security Administration (SSA), "COLAs are based on increases in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W)." The jump in COLA for 2023 correlated with a jump in CPI, which peaked at a 9.1% rate in June 2022. But a series of interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve has helped to lower inflationary pressures somewhat in recent months. Currently, inflation is at a still-elevated rate of 4.3% as of August's CPI figures, up from the 3.2% rate in July and 3.0% rate in June. So, when inflation starts to cool, that means a lower cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security recipients.
The Senior Citizens League, one of the nation’s largest nonpartisan seniors groups, predicted that Social Security COLA for 2024 will be 3.2%, reflecting the rise in prices through August. The group found that a COLA of 3.2% would increase an average monthly benefit of $1,790 by $57.30.
While smaller than an 8.7% increase, A 3.2% increase is still higher than the average over the last 20 years, which is 2.6%.
Based on data from The Social Security Administration, below are the average monthly Social Security benefits for each group of beneficiaries in August 2023, along with estimated averages based on the 3.2% COLA prediction for 2024.
- Average monthly benefit: $1,840.27
- Average monthly benefit with 3.2% COLA: $1,899.16
Spouses of retired workers
- Average monthly benefit: $889.61
- Average monthly benefit with 3.2% COLA: $919.08
Children of retired workers
- Average monthly benefit: $859.47
- Average monthly benefit with 3.2% COLA: $886.97
- Average monthly benefit: $1,454.48
- Average monthly benefit with 3.2% COLA: $1,501.02
- Average monthly benefit: $1,715.77
- Average monthly benefit with 3.2% COLA: $1,770.67
- Average monthly benefit: $895.66
- Average monthly benefit with 3.2% COLA: $924.32
- Average monthly benefit: $1,486.83
- Average monthly benefit with 3.2% COLA: $1,534.41
Spouses of disabled workers
- Average monthly benefit: $408
- Average monthly benefit with 3.2% COLA: $421.06
Social Security COLAs from 2009-2023
Below is a list of every official Social Security COLA, in order from 2023 to 2009.
- 2023: 8.7%
- 2022: 5.9%
- 2021: 1.3%
- 2020: 1.6%
- 2019: 2.8%
- 2018: 2.0%
- 2017: 0.3%
- 2016: 0%
- 2015: 1.7%
- 2014: 1.5%
- 2013: 1.7%
- 2012: 3.6%
- 2011: 0%
- 2010: 0%
- 2009: 5.8%
Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing personal finance advice with others. Previously, she was a freelancer focusing on the credit card side of finance, but has branched out since then to cover other aspects of personal finance. Erin is well-versed in traditional media with reporting, interviewing and research, as well as using graphic design and video and audio storytelling to share with her readers.
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