Social security benefits will increase by 3.2% this year. Here's when you'll see them and how much you'll get
- In 2024, the cost of living adjustment to mitigate inflation was 3.2 percent
- An average retired worker can expect to make $1,907 per month, up from $1,848 last year
Increased Social Security benefits for 66 million Americans started this month and will continue throughout January.
To offset inflation, a 3.2 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be applied to Social Security checks.
That means the average retired worker can expect a take-home pay of $1,907 per month in 2024, up from $1,848 last year, according to the latest figures. Social Security Administration (SSA) Fact Sheet..
Benefit recipients do not need to do anything to receive the COLA. The SSA independently calculates adjustments and applies them automatically.
Starting this month, a 3.2 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) will be applied to Social Security checks
Retirees and their dependents make up three-quarters of all Social Security recipients, but millions of other beneficiaries, including disabled workers and low-income earners, will also receive the increase
This year's increase was significantly smaller than the previous two years: 5.9 percent in 2022 and an unprecedented 8.7 percent a year ago.
On average, the benefit has increased by 2.6 percent per year over the past twenty years.
COLA is based on the change in the consumer price index for urban wage and administrative workers in the third quarter compared to a year earlier.
The program has often been criticized because annual COLAs for the following year are calculated based on the current year's inflation. That means the boost comes after retirees have already faced increasingly higher prices.
Retirees and their dependents make up three-quarters of all Social Security recipients, but millions of other beneficiaries, including disabled workers and low-income earners, will also receive the increase.
The payments are considered a lifeline for lower- and middle-income retirees, many of whom have never had a workplace retirement account like a 401(k).
Pictured is the Social Security Administration's 2024 payment schedule
Social Security benefits are paid on the third of each month if the recipient received benefits before May 1997 or if they receive both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
This month, those with a birth date between the 1st and 10th of the month will be paid on the second Wednesday, which falls on January 10th.
Those born between the 11th and 20th are paid on the third Wednesday of January 17th and those between the 21st and 31st on January 24th.
SSI, which provides monthly payments to adults and children with income and resources below specific financial limits, is typically paid at the beginning and end of each month.
COLA is also used to calculate the wages above which Americans do not owe Social Security taxes.
The latest increase of 3.2 percent will increase that threshold from $160,200 to $168,600.