Social Security Benefits Increase in 2019

January 3, 2019 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: January 3, 2019

" "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.

Check our website for more information about the 2019 COLA. You can also read our publication Cost-of-Living Adjustment.


See Comments

About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Charles H.

    How can I get a copy of my 2019 annual benefits award letter? It’s the one Social Security sent out once a year. Unfortunately I miss placed mine and I’m refinancing my house and they want a copy of it.

  2. Frances D.

    I nee an award letter please. I am locked out for more than 24 hours and system wont me to view anything. Help please thanks

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Frances, thanks for using our blog. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for details on how to get a benefit verification letter. You also may be able to request a benefit verification letter by using our automated telephone service at 1-800-772-1213. You can conduct the automated services 24 hours a day. At the prompt, indicate that you’re requesting a benefit verification letter. We hope this helps.

  3. Theresa R.

    I need an Award letter from SSI verifying my benefit.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Theresa, thanks for using our blog. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for details on how to get a benefit verification letter. You also may be able to take care of your business by using our automated telephone service available 24 hours a day without having to wait for a telephone agent. Call 1-800-772-1213 and at the prompt, indicate that you’re requesting a benefit verification letter. We hope this helps.

  4. brendaj

    requesting a social security earnings statement
    I assumed I did not answers the questions correctly, I was booted out “)

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Brenda, thank you for using our blog. We are sorry to hear that you are having difficulties creating a my Social Security account. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for details on how to obtain a Social Security Statement. We hope this helps!

  5. Kenneth J.

    The last paper copy of my monthly SS benefit was in January 2020. Why have the paper copies stopped? I never received anything in the mail concerning a change from SS.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Kenneth. If you’re referring to your Social Security benefit, a law went into effect March 1, 2013, requiring that you receive your payments electronically. If you did not sign up for electronic payments when you applied for benefits, we strongly urge you to do it now. If you still receive checks, the U.S. Department of the Treasury will contact you about complying with the requirement. Visit our Social Security and Direct Deposit web page for more details. Thank you for using our blog.

  6. Tinna

    does reimbursement for mileage count toward earning?

  7. john s.

    I did not get or misplaced a earnings statement for 2019. How can one for my accountant ?

  8. Tracy E.

    Social security is a crooked agency! My brother died ten days ago on February 4, 2020. His adult daughter is not eligible for a cent of the years of social security he paid. Not even the one time lump sum of $250. Our parents aren’t eligible unless they are disabled. He wasn’t married so no one collects. When I called the customer service rep was extremely rude. He was annoyed by my questions and even laughed! Not once did he extend his condolences. So people, if you are an adult who is not married and doesn’t have disabled children or parents social security gets to keep your money! Crooked as hell.

  9. Neil P.

    why can’t i find a simple table with the IRMAA amounts for both medical and Part D for 2020?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Neil. To find more information about the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts for Part B and Part D, visit Medicare’s website here and here. Thanks!

  10. Beryl F.

    My husband Passed away Jan. 30, 2020 and he is in receipt of benefits. Is there any benefits that I will get as a result of his passing? Please advise.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Beryl. We are sorry to hear about your loss. You are eligible to apply for survivor benefits when you reach age 60 (age 50 or over if disabled). However, there are other factors that may affect your entitlement to these benefits. You can find more information on survivors benefits here. For specific questions, please call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

Comments are closed.