COLA

Social Security Benefits Increase in 2021

October 13, 2020 • By

Last Updated: July 21, 2021

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

Comments

  1. Jerry Hubbard

    I have been working full time and drawing S.S and have been paying in for 3 years since I started drawing S.S should my Benefits go up. I have not notice any change other then cost of living .

    • Vonda

      Hi Jerry, thank you 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.

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

  2. Duane Lindsey

    My FRA is 66 and 2 months. I am now 65 and will be 66 this year. What is my total dollar amount I can earn if I work this year.

    • Vonda

      Hi Duane, thanks for using our blog. You can get Social Security retirement or survivors benefits and work at the same time. However, there is a limit to how much you can earn and still receive full benefits. The amount you’re allowed to earn while receiving benefits depends on your age. If you attain full retirement age in 2021, the earnings limit is $50,520 but we only count earnings before the month you reach full retirement age. Beginning with the month you reach full retirement age, earnings no longer reduce your benefits, no matter how much you earn.

      Visit our Receiving Benefits While Working web page for more details.

  3. Lisa

    Will SSDI benefits be deposited early for April 2021??? Good Friday or April 1st??

  4. dolores pallotta

    Why haven’t the people on ssi gotten the stimulus check? People on unemployment receiving a extra $300 plus the 1,400 plus the unemployment check have all gotten, people who work have gotten it but people collecting their
    little checks from ssi and can’t pick up some extra work because of covid have not gotten it. Seems unfair to me.

    • Vonda

      Hi Dolores, thanks for using our blog. If you receive Social Security or SSI benefits, you may receive your payment sooner, or later, than another beneficiary you know because the IRS is sending payments first to anyone who filed a tax return or used its Non-Filer Tool to receive a previous payment.

      The IRS has not determined when it will begin issuing payments to Social Security and SSI beneficiaries who did not file a 2020 or 2019 tax return or used its Non-Filer Tool to receive a previous payment. Use the IRS’ Get My Payment Tool to see when you can expect to receive your payment once determined by the IRS.

  5. Katie Soles

    My husband, at age 70, will be eligible for a pension as a firefighter. His work history prior was enough to to be eligible for Social Security too. Can he collect both?

    • Vonda

      Hi Katie, thanks for using our blog. If your husband is receiving a non-covered pension, a pension based on work that is not covered by Social Security (for example, Federal civil service and some State or local government agencies such as police officers and some teachers), it could cause the amount of his Social Security benefits to be reduced. Benefits can be reduced based on one of two provisions: The Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision. Check out our Information for Government Employees web page for details.

  6. demetrios papaefthimiou

    How can I find out where my social security checks are mailed to?

    • Vonda

      Hi Demetrios, thanks for using our blog. If you have a my Social Security account, you can check your address and direct deposit information online. If you’re unable to create an account, you can call 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.

  7. Evangeline

    My ex-husband will be turning 62 in June. I was told I will qualify for spousal benefits once that happens and my social security disbursement will increase. When am I informed how much that amount will be? Or how can I find that information out?

    • Vonda

      Hi Evangeline, thanks for using our blog. If you are divorced, you can receive benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record (even if they have remarried) if:

      – Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer.
      – You’re unmarried.
      – You’re age 62 or older.
      – The benefit that you’re entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
      – Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.

      If your ex-spouse qualifies for retirement benefits but hasn’t applied, you may be able to receive benefits on their record if you have been divorced for at least two years.

      To inquire about potential benefits, you can call 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.

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  9. Erlinda Durham

    How can I get copy of 2021 awards letter

    • Evangeline

      You can log into your personal portal on SSA website and get that letter.

    • Robert L Rouillard

      lost my 2021 award letter. need one for proof of award for 2021

      • Vonda

        Hi Robert, thanks for using our blog. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for details on how to get a benefit verification letter. This letter is sometimes called a budget letter, a benefits letter, a proof of income letter or a proof of award 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 proof of income letter. We hope this helps.

    • Robert L Rouillard

      How can I get copy of 2021 awards letter

  10. Vicki Rhodes

    I am starting to receive Social Security benefits this month, prior to full retirement age. I also receive monthly distributions from my 403b plan. These funds were withheld pre-tax when I was working. Are they considered earned income for this year? Are they subject to the earnings limit?

    • Vonda

      Thank you for the question, Vicki. When we figure out how much to deduct from your benefits, we count only the wages you make from your job or your net profit if you’re self-employed. We include bonuses, commissions, and vacation pay. We don’t count pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, veterans, or other government or military retirement benefits.

      After you retire, you may receive payments for work you did before you started getting Social Security benefits. Usually, those payments will not affect your Social Security benefit if they are for work done before you retired. Check out our factsheet Special Payments After Retirement for more details.

      • MOHAN DEVARAJU

        Where can I get copy of 2021Social Security Award Certificate?

        • Vonda

          Hi Mohan, thanks for reading our blog and for your question. We mailed the COLA notices throughout the month of December to retirement, survivors, and disability beneficiaries, SSI recipients, and representative payees. You can also securely view and save the Social Security COLA notice online via the Message Center inside your my Social Security account .

          If you need proof of your Social Security benefits, check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for details on how to get a benefit verification letter. This letter is sometimes called a budget letter, a benefits letter, a proof of income letter or a proof of award 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 proof of income letter. We hope this helps.

        • Anna Grice

          Anna Grice

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