Social Security Checks on Track for Biggest Boost in 40 Years

Off the Charts: the Visual Says it All

A young girl kisses a smiling older woman on the cheek while a younger woman looks on and takes a photograph.

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Relief from rising prices for recipients of Social Security is on the way: Next year, monthly benefit checks will get an 8.7% boost, if the latest projections hold true. That bump would be the largest in decades.

The annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for recipients of Social Security retirement and disability benefits is calculated every October using the Consumer Price Index. It’s done to keep rising costs for the things we buy from eroding the buying power of payments. And with inflation running near its hottest in 40-years, the COLA is following suit: This year’s adjustment is expected to add $144.10 to the average retirement payment of $1,656, the Senior Citizens League nonprofit group calculated this week. That’s the biggest percentage increase since 1982, as the chart below shows.

One caveat: there is still one more month of inflation data to go before the figure is finalized, and with inflation having cooled in the last two months, it’s possible the COLA could drop a little further as well. 

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  1. Senior Citizens League. “CPI-COLA Update.”

  2. Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis. “Consumer Price Index for All Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers: All Items in U.S. City Average.”

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