Social Security Benefits Increase in 2021

October 13, 2020 • By

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Last Updated: November 2, 2023

Approximately 70 million Americans will see a 1.3 percent increase in their Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments in 2021. 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, leading to a higher cost-of-living. This change means prices for goods and services, on average, are a little more expensive, so the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) helps to offset these costs.

We will mail COLA notices throughout the month of December to retirement, survivors, and disability beneficiaries, SSI recipients, and representative payees. But, if you want to know your new benefit amount sooner, you can securely obtain the Social Security COLA notice online using the Message Center in your personal my Social Security accountYou can access this information in early December prior to the mailed notice.

If you prefer to access your COLA notice online instead of receiving the mailed notice, you can log in to your personal my Social Security account  to opt out of a mailed COLA notice and any other notices that are available online by updating your Preferences in the Message Center. You can also choose to receive a text or email alert when there is a new notice. That way, you always know when we have something important for you – like your COLA notice. If you don’t have an account yet, you must create one by November 18, 2020 to receive the 2021 COLA notice online.

January 2021 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 in 2021 will be higher. The retirement earnings test exempt amount will also change in 2021.

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.

You can find more information about the 2021 COLA here.


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About the Author

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner


  1. STEVE J.

    A bit confusing as to what a person retired can earn without any deduction from benefits. I’ve been retired for 11 years and though I don’t work but been looking for extra income that I can sustain, what is my limit of earnings each month/year if any. Thanks.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Steve, thanks for using our blog. Beginning with the month you reach full retirement age, earnings no longer reduce your benefits, no matter how much you earn. Plus, if you continue to work while receiving retirement benefits, your monthly benefit amount may increase. As long as you continue to work and receive benefits, we will automatically check your record every year to see whether the additional earnings will increase your monthly benefit. If there is an increase, we will send you a letter telling you of your new benefit amount.

      Check out our Retirement Planner: Getting Benefits While Working for additional details.

  2. bob

    Fuck all tyrants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. gary

    my comment was Blocked by this Government Site in Violation of the First Amendment. Why is that?

  4. gary

    Since we were all told by Trump 4 years ago there would be nothing but winning, winning, wining, all the time! This next increase will be 100%!!!!

  5. Ward P.

    Your notice of the Social Security raise is useless until the increase in Medicare premium is known.

  6. Jerry m.

    Yet congress is thinking about ,no pundintended, , granting themselves a 2.8 % increase
    Why not be FAIR and do a 1.8 %
    you r real jerks

  7. JOYCE P.

    but how much is are medicare premium going up

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Joyce, thanks for using our blog. Information about Medicare changes for 2021, when announced, will be available at

  8. MARY A.

    This won’t cover the additional expense for PPE and food cost increases this year. What where you people thinking. Social Security recipeants have not been given a descent rasie in 20 years. WE keep falling further and further behind. While Congress votes in 6 or % raises for themsel
    ves on a $160,000 salary. Makes no sense.

    • Mousielove

      Agree. This Californian is fed up.

      • Walt

        Take your CPI complaint to the Dept of Labor!!

  9. Lauren M.

    Can anyone tell me if a person was married for over 10 years, never remarried and has reached retirement age, made less than their ex-spouse, can you claim their social security?

    • Sunny

      Yes, you can. Make an appointment to speak with a rep at your local SS office. You can also have a phone appt, but you will still need to send in various papers. You will need your SS#, ID, your marriage certificate, your divorce certificate (to prove ten year span). If your ex is still living and made more than you. you will get an add-on of part of spouse’s SS to yours. This will NOT affect your ex’s payment; his/hers will stay the same. Spouse won’t even know you’re claiming, unless he/she makes an effort to call in and check. If your ex is deceased and you are of full retirement age, you should (as I understand it) get the entire amount.

  10. Doshie T.

    Thank You for the information!

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