Social Security Benefits Expected to Rise Next Year, But Not By Much

August 5, 2016

Every year the Social Security Medicare Board of Trustees looks at the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, (CPI-W) and sets the Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) rate—how much Social Security Benefits will increase—for the next year. While CPI data is not yet available for the whole year, a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees offered a clue to what next year’s increases might be. Are you ready for it? They are projecting a 0.2% increase for 2017. Yes that is right: a two-tenths of one percent increase!

For the average Social Security beneficiary, that translates to an increase of about $2.69 a month, or as noted, “essentially enough to buy one gallon of gasoline, a gallon of milk, or perhaps one of the cheaper drinks at your favorite coffee shop.”

This puny COLA increase comes after no COLA increase this year, and at a time when healthcare cost inflation has hit an all time high, with medical procedure costs and prescription drug costs taking a bigger bite out of Social Security checks.

About 40.5 million Americans receive Social Security retirement benefits and about 14 million receive monthly disability benefits.