Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is an increase in the benefit amount people receive each month. By law, the monthly Social Security and SSI federal benefit rate increases when there is a rise in the cost of living. The government measures changes in the cost of living through the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index (CPI-W).
The CPI has not risen since the last cost-of-living adjustment in 2015. As a result, your SSI benefit rate and, for most people, your Social Security benefit amount will stay the same in 2016.
This news isn’t necessarily bad. When inflation stays at the same rate, your cost of living also stays the same. Prices for goods and services, on average, haven’t increased enough to affect the COLA.
Other changes that would normally take effect based on changes in the national average wage index also won’t begin in January 2016. Since there is no COLA, the statute also prohibits a change in the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax, as well as the retirement earnings test exempt amounts. These amounts will remain unchanged in 2016. The new fact sheet provides more information on 2016 Social Security and SSI changes.
For additional information about the 2016 COLA, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.
For additional information about changes in the national average wage index, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/COLA/AWI.html.