Nearly 70 million Americans will see a 1.3 percent increase in their Social Security benefits and SSI payments in 2021. Federal benefit rates increase when the cost-of-living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index.
The Consumer Price Index rises when inflation increases, leading to a higher cost-of-living. This change means prices for goods and services, on average, are a little more expensive, so the COLA helps to offset these costs.
January 2021 marks other changes that 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 2021 will be higher. The retirement earnings test exempt amount will also change in 2021.
COLA notices will be mailed throughout the month of December to retirement, survivors, and disability beneficiaries, SSI recipients, and representative payees. Want to know your new benefit amount sooner? You can securely view and save the Social Security COLA notice online via the Message Center inside my Social Security in early December without waiting for the mailed notice.
If you don’t have an account yet, you will have to create an account to receive the COLA notice online this year. Choose text or email alerts when there is a notice in the Message Center by updating your Preferences at ssa.gov/myaccount/opt-out.html.
Sign up for or log in to your personal account today atssa.gov/myaccount. Choose email or text under “Message Center Preferences” to receive courtesy notifications. You can find more information about the 2021 COLA at ssa.gov/cola