By Warren Beck, Social Security District Manager in Syracuse.
More than 71 million Americans will see a 3.2% increase in their Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments in 2024. On average, Social Security retirement benefits will increase by more than $50 per month starting in January.
Federal benefit rates increase when the cost-of-living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index (CPI-W). The CPI-W rises when inflation increases, leading to a higher cost-of-living. This change means prices for goods and services, on average, are higher. The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) helps to offset these costs.
We will mail COLA notices throughout the month of December to retirement, survivors and disability beneficiaries, SSI recipients and representative payees. But if you want to know your new benefit amount sooner, you can securely obtain your Social Security COLA notice online using the Message Center in your personal My Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount. You can access this information in early December, prior to receiving the mailed notice. Benefit amounts will not be available before December. Since you will receive the COLA notice online or in the mail, you don’t need to contact us to get your new benefit amount.
If you prefer to access your COLA notice online and not receive the mailed notice, you can log in to your personal my Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount to opt out by changing your preferences in the Message Center. You can update your preferences to opt out of the mailed COLA notice, and any other notices that are available online. Did you know you can receive a text or email alert when there is a new message waiting for you? That way, you always know when we have something important for you — like your COLA notice.
“Social Security and SSI benefits will increase in 2024, and this will help millions of people keep up with expenses,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, acting commissioner of Social Security.
January 2024 marks when other changes will happen based on the increase in the national average wage index. For example, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax in 2024 will be higher. The retirement earnings test exempt amount will also change in 2024. Learn more at www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/colafacts2024.pdf.
Be among the first to know! Sign up for or log in to your personal my Social Security account today at www.ssa.gov/myaccount. Choose email or text under “Message Center Preferences” to receive courtesy notifications.
You can find more information about the 2024 COLA at www.ssa.gov/cola.
Q.: Do members of Congress have to pay into Social Security?
A.: Yes, they do. Members of Congress, the president and vice president, federal judges, and most political appointees, have paid taxes into the Social Security program since January 1984. They pay into the system just like everyone else, no matter how long they have been in office. Learn more about Social Security benefits at www.ssa.gov.
Q.: I’m trying to figure out how much I need to save for my retirement. Does the government offer any help with financial education?
A.: Yes. For starters, you may want to find out what you can expect from Social Security with a visit to Social Security’s Retirement Estimator at www.ssa.gov/estimator. The Financial Literacy and Education Commission has a website that can help you with the basics of financial education: www.mymoney.gov. Finally, you’ll want to check out the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which offers educational information on a number of financial matters, including mortgages, credit cards, retirement, and other big decisions. Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at www.consumerfinance.gov.
Q.: I worked for the last 10 years and I now have my 40 credits. Does this mean that I get the maximum Social Security retirement benefit?
A.: Probably not. The 40 credits are the minimum number you need to qualify for retirement benefits. However, we do not base your benefit amount on those credits; it’s based on your earnings over a lifetime of work. To learn more about how you earn Social Security credits and how they work, read or listen to our publication How You Earn Credits, available at www.ssa.gov/pubs.