Social Security beneficiaries get the biggest raise since 20

A 2.8% increase in benefits will be available for the more than 67 million Social Security and Supplemental Security Income recipients next year, the largest increase since 2011, though still small by historical standards.

The annual increase is determined by taking the average rate of inflation – determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ broad measure of prices for food, housing, clothing, transportation, energy, medical care, recreation and education – from the third quarter of one year to the next. With lower inflation since the Great Recession, adjustments have been slight or nonexistent. The 2.8% gain translates into an approximate $39-a-month increase for all retired workers, from $1,422 to $1,461.

Estimated Average Monthly Social Security Benefits Payable in January 20191

  Before 2% COLA After 2% COLA
 All retired workers $1,422 $1,461
 Aged couple, both receiving benefits $2,381 $2,448
 Widowed mother and two children $2,797 $2,876
 Aged widow(er) alone $1,348 $1,386
 Disabled worker, spouse and one or more children $2,072 $2,130
 All disabled workers  $1,200 $1,234

For those who are still working, the government also announced it will increase the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax to $132,900 from $128,400, starting in January.

1 Social Security Administration Fact Sheet – 2019 Social Security Changes, Retrieved Oct. 11, 2018.

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