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When will Social Security benefits with the 2024 COLA be sent?

The cost-of-living adjustment increase for monthly benefit payments usually takes effect the following year, but a quirk for 2023 means it comes sooner.

When will the 2024 COLA increases be sent?
Kevin DietschAFP

It’s that time of year when the Social Security Administration (SSA) begins to calculate what the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase will be for the next year. In a few days Social Security beneficiaries will know by how much their monthly payments will be boosted.

This is due to the way in which the automatic annual COLA is calculated. The SSA uses inflation data from the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) provided by the US Department of Labor. Not just any data though, but that from the third quarter of the year (July, August and September) prior to the COLA increase.

Last year, the SSA announced a historic COLA increase of 8.7 percent, that was due in large part to inflation peaking in June 2022 at a four-decade high. While inflation has cooled significantly in the United States, the increased cost of living is still affecting families, not least those receiving Social Security. But while the slowing of price rises is a good thing in general, it also means the reality that beneficiaries won’t see an increase anywhere near the 2023 COLA.

When will the 2024 COLA increases start and when will I receive them?

The 2024 COLA will be announced once the CPI-W data for September 2023 is released, scheduled for 12 October. Current predictions from the Senior Citizen League, an non-partisan advocacy group for seniors, ticked up slightly in its latest report from 2.7 percent to 3 percent. According to the group’s calculations, that would mean almost $54 more per month based on an average monthly benefit of $1,789.

While the COLA increase will be announced in October, Social Security recipients won’t know the exact amount that their payments will increase until December when the agency mails notices to beneficiaries.

The boost to payments themselves will be sent with the first payments for the following year, those that correspond to January 2024. Recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a group that receives their payments on the first of each month, will receive the first increased monthly payments on Friday 29 December. This is because 1 January 2024 is a holiday as well as falling on a Monday, thus the payments are moved forward to the first applicable date that bank transactions can be processed.