Social Security Benefits Increase in 2020

October 10, 2019 • By

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Last Updated: October 10, 2019

When we announce the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), there’s usually an increase in the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit amount. Federal benefit rates increase when the cost of living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index (CPI-W).

The CPI-W rises when inflation increases, it makes your cost of living go up. This change means prices for goods and services, on average, are a little more expensive, so the COLA helps to offset these costs.

As a result, nearly 69 million Americans will see a 1.6 percent increase in their Social Security and SSI benefits in 2020.

January 2020 marks other changes that will happen based on the increase in the national average wage index. For example, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax. The retirement earnings test exempt amount, will also change in 2020.

Want to know your new benefit amount as soon as possible? In December 2019, we will post Social Security COLA notices online for retirement, survivors, and disability beneficiaries who have a my Social Security account. You will be able to view and save these COLA notices securely via the Message Center inside my Social Security.  You can also opt out of receiving notices by mail that are available online.

Be the first to know! Sign up for or log in to your personal my Social Security account today. Choose email or text under “Message Center Preferences” to receive courtesy notifications. This way you won’t miss your online COLA notice!

You can find more information about the 2020 COLA here.

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About the Author

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner


  1. Wilbert M.

    I started receiving my full social security age retirement payments in December 2020 and worked until 31 December 2020. Social Security recorded my 2020 earnings on 20 January 2021 which was the highest annual earnings in my career. When will they recalculate my monthly payments and what month can I expect to receive the adjustments into my bank.

    • Vonda

      Hi Wilbert, thanks for using our blog to ask your question. Each year we review the records for all Social Security recipients who work. If your latest year of earnings turns out to be one of your highest years, we refigure your benefit and pay you any increase due. This is an automatic process, and benefits are paid in December of the following year. For example, in December 2021, you should get an increase for your 2020 earnings if those earnings raised your benefit. The increase would be retroactive to January 2021. You also have the option of providing your 2020 W-2 to your local office. You can call and talk to a representative for details on how to provide the W-2. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

      Check out our Receiving Benefits While Working web page for more details.

  2. gene h.

    what were my social security benefits in 2029

  3. gene h.

    what were my social security benefits in 2020

    • Vonda

      Hi Gene, thanks for using our blog. Social Security mails the SSA-1099 each year in January to people who receive Social Security benefits. It shows the total amount of benefits you received from Social Security in the previous year so you know how much Social Security income to report to IRS on your tax return.

      Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for options on receiving an instant replacement SSA-1099 beginning February 1st. We hope this helps!


    Are we receiving a social security 1.6 raise in a check at the end of December

    • Sue

      Hi, Chasity. Thanks for reading our blog and for your question. Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 70 million Americans will increase 1.3 percent in 2021. The 1.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable in January 2021. Increased payments to SSI beneficiaries begin December 31, 2020. For more details, visit our Cost-of-Living Adjustment Information web page. We hope this helps!

  5. Charlotte M.

    What is the amount that you can earn in 2021 and it won’t affect your benefits?

    • Sue

      Hi, Charlotte. Thank you for reading our blog and for your question. The amount you’re allowed to earn while receiving retirement or survivors benefits depends on your age. If you’re younger than full retirement age, the 2021 annual earnings limit is $18,960. We will deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit. In the year you reach full retirement age, we deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above $50,520 in 2021. We only count your earnings up to the month before you reach your full retirement age, not your earnings for the entire year. Beginning with the month you reach full retirement age, your earnings no longer reduce your benefits, no matter how much you earn. We will recalculate your benefit amount to give you credit for the months we reduced or withheld benefits due to your excess earnings. For more information, check out our Receiving Benefits While Working web page. We hope this information is helpful.

  6. Vanita L.

    Social security article reads a 1.6 percent increase for 2021. My Social security notification letter I received is calculated at 1.3 percent.
    Why are there two different values?
    Which is correct?

    • Vonda

      Hi Vanita, thanks for using the blog to ask your question. The 2020 COLA was 1.6 percent. All monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 70 million Americans will increase 1.3 percent in 2021. For more details about the new COLA, visit our Cost-of-Living Adjustment information page.

  7. Rotek J.

    Earn money on paid surveys

  8. hamid

    i get SSDI & SSI tootal 803 dollars . i need to know am i qualify for 2000 dollars amount congres said

    • Vonda

      Hi Hamid, thank you for your question. Please visit the IRS Economic Impact Payments Information Center to answer your questions about eligibility, payment amounts, what to expect, when to expect it and more. If you are unable to find the answer, call the IRS hotline at 1-800-919-9835. Thanks!

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