Social Security Benefits to Increase in 2019

October 11, 2018 • By

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Last Updated: November 3, 2023

man and woman on balcony outside smiling Each year we announce the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Usually there is an increase in the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit amount people receive each month, starting the following January. By law, federal benefits increase when the cost of living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).

The CPI-W rises when prices increase for the things the average consumer buys. This means that when prices for goods and services we purchase become more expensive, on average, the COLA increases monthly benefit levels and helps you keep up with the changing cost of living.

As a result, more than 67 million Americans will see a 2.8 percent increase in their Social Security and SSI benefits in 2019.

January 2019 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, as well as the retirement earnings test exempt amount, will change in 2019.

Want to know your new benefit amount as soon as possible? In December 2018, we will post Social Security COLA notices online for retirement, survivors, and disability beneficiaries who have a personal my Social Security account. You will be able to view and save these COLA notices securely via the Message Center inside my Social Security.

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

This year, you will still receive your COLA notice by mail. In the future, you will be able to choose whether you receive your notice online instead of on paper. Online notices will not be available to representative payees, individuals with foreign mailing addresses, or those who pay higher Medicare premiums due to their income. We plan to expand the availability of COLA notices to additional online customers in the future.

You can find more information about the 2019 COLA here.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. David G.

    I need a 2021 SS rewards letter for a loan inquiry.
    The website at My Social Security does not let me sign in. I have tried several times.
    When I indicate forgot password, it takes me back in a loop to the last screen.
    I have also called several times without getting through.Finally got through and asked for a letter and was told it would take 5 days.
    The call back function is never available.
    I am stuck. need help. Need access to my records.

    • Sue

      Hi, David. Thanks for using our blog to ask your question. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for information about how to get a proof of award letter, also called a budget letter, a benefits letter, or a proof of income letter. Perhaps you can use your SSA-1099 for your loan inquiry. It is mailed each January to people who receive benefits. It tells you how much Social Security income to report to the IRS on your tax return. For more information, see our Frequently Asked Questions web page. We hope this helps.

  2. Ray J.

    Hello. I am Ray Johnson and I’m requesting a rewards letter to bring to the bank. Please email it to me. I appreciate your time

  3. Ray J.

    I am requesting a rewards letter to download on friends email address. thank you for your time and patience.

    • Vonda

      Hi Ray, 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.

  4. Bob D.

    What is the maximum possible monthly benefit if you are retiring at age 70 in 2020?

  5. Rotek J.

    Earn money on paid surveys

  6. Barbara L.

    what does the reward letter look like? I am not sure if I have one,

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Barbara, thanks for using our blog. We will mail COLA notices throughout the month of December to retirement, survivors, and disability beneficiaries, SSI recipients, and representative payees. If you would like the notice, sooner, you can securely view and save the Social Security COLA notice online via the Message Center inside your my Social Security account in early December without waiting for the mailed notice. If you don’t have an account, create one today. We hope this helps!

  7. Elizabeth R.

    Please mail me a rewards letter

    • Ray J.

      Good afternoon. Ray Johnson is requesting a rewards letter for some business he has with the bank. It will be greatly appreciated and beneficial. Have a great day

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