Each year we announce the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Usually, there is an increase in the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit amount people receive each month, starting the following January. Law requires that federal benefit rates increase when the cost of living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).
The CPI-W rises when prices increase for the things the average consumer buys. This means that when prices for goods and services we purchase become more expensive, on average, the COLA increases benefits and helps beneficiaries keep up with the changing cost of living.
More than 67 million Americans will see a 2.8 percent increase in their Social Security and SSI benefits in 2019.
This month marks other changes based on the increase in the national average wage index. For example, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax will increase to $132,900 in 2019. The retirement earnings test exempt amount will also increase.
Want to know your new benefit amount? In December 2018, we posted Social Security COLA notices online for retirement, survivors, and disability beneficiaries who have a my Social Security account. You can view and save these COLA notices securely via the Message Center inside my Social Security.
Next year, be the first to know! Sign up for or log in to your personal my Social Security account. Choose email or text under “Message Center Preferences” to receive courtesy notifications so you won’t miss your electronic COLA notice!
This year, even if you accessed your COLA notice online, you still received your COLA notice by mail. In the future, you will be able to choose whether you receive your notice online instead of on paper. Online notices will not be available to representative payees, individuals with foreign mailing addresses, or those who pay higher Medicare premiums due to their income. We plan to expand the availability of COLA notices to additional online customers in the future.