The cost-of-living adjustment for 2019 has been released and is expected to increase the Social Security Retirement, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit amounts by 2.8%. This increase will begin in January 2019 and will affect more than 67 million Americans. In comparison, the cost-of-living adjustment for 2018 was only 2%. The 2019 cost-of-living adjustment is especially noteworthy because it is the biggest increase in benefits since 2012 when beneficiaries saw a 3.6% increase.
Cost-of-Living Adjustments in the Past Decade
Source: Social Security Administration
For those individuals who are receiving retirement or disability benefits, a 2.8% increase will certainly help. These benefit amounts are typically fairly low, with the average disability benefit in 2018 being just $1,234 per month. The maximum an individual could receive in disability benefits in 2018 was $2,861 a month. While these amounts may sound low, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are even lower, maxing out at $750 a month. So having an increase of 2.8% may not sound like a big deal, but it will certainly help some. It could mean the difference between being able to pay your electric bill or not.
Each year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines whether there will be an adjustment to benefits. This is so that the benefit amounts are to keep up with inflation. The SSA determines whether to increase benefits based on the consumer price index. The government looks at whether the cost of living will rise. This is measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. The consumer price index rises when the price of goods increases.
To find out exactly how much your benefits will increase, log in to your account on the SSA website. The adjusted benefit amounts will be posted in December 2018. Or, you may log in to your account now and elect to receive a message or text from the SSA as soon as the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) notice is released.