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. Nelda J.

    I sent for a replacement social security card at the Birmingham Office. Mailed it August 31, 2010. Haven’t heard one word. Why does it take so long when you say 7-10 day turn around????? What is going on?????? I sent in every thing that was on the list and they have a phone number and address. Please check on this!

    • V.V.

      Hi Nelda. Please contact your local Social Security office. 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.

  2. Diana S.

    I am now 70 years of age. I have been told that I can get a “RENEWAL” to UPGRADE my S. S. benefits . HOW can I do this and WHERE do I go???

    • Walt

      “I have been told”….by whom???

    • V.V.

      Hi Diana, thanks for using our blog. If you’re receiving a widow’s benefit and have never filed for your own Social Security retirement benefits, you may be due a higher retirement benefit on your record after including all of the delayed retirement credits. To inquire on a potential higher benefit on your own record, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 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.

  3. andrew j.

    How are you supposed to live on 1.3 raise that’s nothing while rent goesup in price of food and gas and everything goes up that’s not fair

    • Walt

      Take your CPI complaint to the Dept of Labor!!

  4. JW V.

    An increase? What does it matter? The insurance will go up by exactly the same amount.

    Government giveth and government taketh away, and tells us what a great benefit we have gotten. Spare me.

  5. JAMES T.


  6. Fredrick A.

    What about Medicare deduction?

  7. Patricia H.

    Wow 1.3% whatever will I do with the big $8.00 raise in my SSI.

  8. Jon L.

    For current and future cost of living statements, PLEASE ensure you tell people that their 1.3% increase will be lower after factoring in the requirement to round down. Thus, the so called increase is NOT 1.3%

  9. Donna L.

    Does spousal benefits see a COLA?

    • Walt


    • V.V.

      Hi Donna, thanks for using the blog to ask your question. 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.

  10. Beatrice B.

    1% of the total increase is a joke! working all our lives to have this is an insult!

    • camille v.

      U can say that again Beatrice

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