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. Stella J.

    Just wanted to know why do Medicare payments keep going up every time we get an increase. when you have to have a supplement to pay as well.

  2. M T.

    What is the maximum SS benefit at 70 for 2021?

  3. Frank A.

    A 1.3 increase is really hardly anything when it comes to the cost of living now days we need a whole lot more to live out here everything is going up but wages. .

  4. Linda N.

    If you’re going to give us a raise it would be nice to be a substantial raise and not $0.10 here and $0.25 there!

    • Walt

      Take your CPI complaint to the Dept of Labor!!

  5. Steve B.

    1.5% increase won’t cover my annual rent increases. What’s worse when illegals get more than u.s.citizens paid from 16-65 into s.s.

  6. Artidoro A.

    Porque no puedo acceder o crear una cuenta en el seguro social , el motivo es que este no es mi correo . Que puedo hacer.

  7. Karen R.

    Glad to hear of the increase in 2021, my husband passed away in June so that leaves me with one income. They only problem is we won’t get the full increase because then they increase Medicare. So it ends up you don’t get much, I only got $6.00 last year.

  8. John A.

    As quite a few over retirement age keep working, and their annual contribution increased.
    Why is their social security benefit continuously upgraded?

    • V.V.

      Hi John, thanks for the 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.

  9. Ellen G.

    I am locked out of my account again.

    • V.V.

      We are sorry to hear about the difficulties you are experiencing with your my Social Security account. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. 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.

  10. Genilce B.

    How are you? I cannot access my account online..I lost my email address and i need help getting into my account please because i need a letter stating how much SSI I received each month..
    Thank You
    Genilce Kishter

    • V.V.

      Hi Genilce, thanks for using our blog. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for details on how to retrieve or change your username or password.

      The benefit verification letter that you need, sometimes called a budget letter, a benefits letter, a proof of income letter or a proof of award letter, is also available 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 proof of income letter. We hope this helps.

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