It’s Official: Social Security’s 2024 COLA to Give Seniors Little Inflation Relief 


Shot of a mature couple using a digital tablet while working on their budget together at home

The Social Security Administration inked its 2024 COLA on October 12th, 2023—seniors will see their 2024 Social Security checks increase by 3.2%. The latest increase is higher than The Senior Citizens League’s original forecast of 2.7% in June, but it will be significantly lower than it was for 2023. 

Overall inflation as of August 2023 was 3.7%, which means that the 2024 COLA will do little to help Social Security beneficiaries combat inflation and other rising costs. This is also as the Medicare Trustees forecasted a monthly Part B premium bump of roughly $10 to $174.80 in 2024.

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2024 Social Security COLA Increase

So, how much will the 2024 Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) be? Starting in January 2024, seniors will see a 3.2% bump in checks.  

In August 2023, the average monthly check for Social Security beneficiaries was just over $1,705, according to the SSA. A 3.2% adjustment would increase that to roughly $1,762— an extra $57.30 a month.

Though another $58 bucks a month is a welcome relief, it’s well short of the $146 per month average increase beneficiaries saw after the 8.7% COLA in 2023.

This small spike is a surprise for many seniors, even though inflation has been trending downward. Usually, as inflation falls, so does the promise of a large cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits. But even with a small jump, it’s rare that seniors find the cost-of-living adjustments match up with the cost increases they personally see just about everywhere else. In fact, Retirement Living found that 22% of baby boomers plan on delaying their retirement due to an impending recession.

Keep in mind: Most Social Security beneficiaries have Medicare Part B premiums deducted from their benefits. Right now, the Medicare Trustees Report predicts a roughly $10 increase in monthly premiums for Medicare Part B in 2024, which would reduce how much seniors actually get in their monthly benefit payout. 

Read More: How Much Social Security Will I Get?

Annual Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustments

In October 2023, the SSA calculated third-quarter inflation by averaging July, August, and September Consumer Price Index data, then compared it to the third-quarter average from 2022. The SSA officially set the COLA for 2024 by calculating the difference between those two numbers. 

A 3.2% Social Security COLA in 2024 falls short of the adjustments seniors have become accustomed to in recent years. Because inflation has been steadily rising until recently, the SSA has made large cost-of-living adjustments so far this decade.

For instance, the 2023 Social Security COLA was 8.7%—the largest in four decades. (The largest cost-of-living adjustment ever was in 1981, when Social Security benefits increased by 14.3%). But given that some seniors were retired in 2010, 2011, and 2016—when there was famously no cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits—a 3.2% increase is nothing to sneeze at.

The table below explores cost of living increases by year over the last six years.

Cost of Living Increases by Year, 2019 – 2024

Source: Social Security Administration

What Is the Maximum Social Security Benefit For 2023?

The 2023 Social Security COLA of 8.7% was the largest in decades. In 2023, individuals at full retirement age received the maximum Social Security retirement benefit of $3,627 a month ($43,524 a year). Individuals who file for Social Security at 62 in 2023 would be eligible for a max benefit of $2,572 a month ($30,864), while individuals who retire at age 70 in 2023 would earn a max benefit of $4,555 a month ($54,660 a year).

Files at…Max Monthly BenefitMax Annual Benefit
Full retirement age in 2023$3,627$43,524
62 in 2023$2,572$30,864
70 in 2023$4,555$54,660
Maximum Social Security Benefit for 2023

Source: Social Security Administration

For most, Social Security benefits are not enough and should be part of a larger retirement plan. Use our retirement calculator to determine if you have enough money to retire without factoring in Social Security benefits.

Read More: How Much Do I Need to Retire?

How to Calculate Your Benefits Using the COLA Increase

To calculate your benefits using the estimated COLA increase for 2024, multiply your current benefit amount by 1.03. (As the estimated percentage changes, you can simply change the multiplier.)

For instance, if you earn the average Social Security benefit of $1,701, multiply it by 1.032 to determine your new benefit:

$1,701 x 1.032 = $1,759

As we mentioned, however, Medicare Part B premiums may go up, which can alter your calculation. In years with smaller Social Security COLAs, Part B contributions can completely eradicate any increase in monthly benefits.

From Our CFP®

“When we get a COLA increase, we usually see a bump up in Medicare premiums. It’s not always a wash, but it definitely erodes the power of the COLA benefit. Some argue that the SSA should use a different Consumer Price Indicator, such as CPI-E, which considers common expenses for those aged 62 and up. It turns out that healthcare, housing, and prescription drugs weigh much heavier on the financial well-being of the aging retiree.

Social Security Payments FAQs

What will the Social Security increase be in 2024?

The Social Security Administration announced a 3.2% benefit increase for 2024, based on the Consumer Price Index. Seniors will see a slight bump in their checks starting in January.

When is the Social Security COLA announced?

The 2024 Social Security COLA was announced in October 2023. By October, the Social Security Administration can use Consumer Price Index data from July, August, and September 2023 to calculate the average cost-of-living increase and compare it to the same period in the previous year. The difference between the two numbers informs the Social Security COLA for the following year.

How do I find out how much Social Security I get a month?

You can create an account on my Social Security to receive your Social Security Statement. If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, this statement will outline your current earnings. If you haven’t yet retired and filed for Social Security, you can use this account and statement to predict your future Social Security benefits. Each December, eligible individuals should receive notification of their new monthly benefit amount in their my Social Security account.

What is the historical average COLA increase?

From 1976 through 2023, the historical average COLA increase has been 3.79%. Beneficiaries got one of the largest increases in Social Security history in 2023 (8.7%), but even that historic increase pales in comparison to the largest ever: 14.3% in 1981. On the flip side, there have been three years where beneficiaries received no cost-of-living adjustments: 2010, 2011, and 2016.

Learn more: The Latest Social Security Statistics

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