In Elder Law News

View of the Social Security Administration logo on its homepage, as seen with a magnifying glass.In 2023, recipients of Social Security benefits saw the biggest increase in decades in their monthly checks. Although their payouts will indeed rise again in 2024, the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be more modest – just 3.2 percent, versus the nearly 9 percent boost in 2023.

Does COLA Only Affect Retired Workers?

Each fall, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announces changes to the annual cost-of-living adjustment for the forthcoming year.

Based in part on the consumer price index, the COLA has an impact on Social Security payouts for retirees as well as many seniors and people with disabilities who receive disability benefits.

How Much Can You Expect to Receive?

In early December, the SSA begins notifying Social Security’s roughly 66 million beneficiaries about what their monthly retirement benefits checks will total as of 2024. These notifications go out via snail mail. How much each recipient gets in their monthly payout can vary depending on such factors as one’s age, employment history, and past work earnings.

If you don’t want to wait for your mail to learn the details, you can find out how much more you will be receiving in 2024 by visiting the My Social Security online portal in December. There, not only can you obtain details on what your 2024 benefits increase will look like, but you can also carry out numerous other tasks, including estimating your spouse’s Social Security benefits, reviewing your statements, opting out of some printed mailings, or updating your direct deposit information.

As a result of the latest COLA, the monthly amount retirees will receive in their 2024 Social Security checks will, on average, be $59 higher than in 2023 – about $1,907 (up from $1,848). This equals $22,884 per year for an individual recipient.

What About My 2024 SSI Payments?

If you are among the 7.5 million people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the announcement regarding COLA will also bring your payouts up by 3.2 percent.

So, in 2024, the maximum monthly SSI benefit will rise from $914 to $943. (Maximum monthly payouts for couples receiving SSI will be $1,415, up from $1,371.) These adjustments begin earlier, on December 29, 2023.

Are These Payout Increases Enough?

Many seniors have concerns about the failure of Social Security payouts in keeping up with rising prices for everything from prescription meds to groceries. They aren’t wrong; a 2023 survey showed that benefits have effectively resulted in a 36 percent loss in buying power since 2000.

Administrators of the survey give an example of the effects: A dozen eggs in 2023 cost $4.21 on average. In 2000, the cost hovered around a dollar – that’s an increase of more than 300 percent.

Get additional details on the 2024 Social Security changes on the SSA website.

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