In a few weeks, the Social Security Administration will announce its annual cost of living adjustment for 2024.
Based on inflation data and other economic indicators, experts estimate the 2024 Social Security COLA will be around 3.2%, or roughly $58 a month for the average retiree.
Here’s how you can find out early how much more you’ll see in your own check.
How to find out your 2024 Social Security COLA
The SSA will determine the official 2024 COLA increase in mid-October and mail notices to beneficiaries through the end of the year. With inflation easing through 2023, the Social Security cost of living adjustment is predicted to come in considerably lower than last year’s 8.7% bump, the largest in 40 years.
You can find out early how much your benefits will increase by creating an account on SSA.gov. After verifying your account, you’ll be able to get an estimate of your retirement benefits and see how those benefits may change depending on your retirement age.
Once the COLA is announced, you’ll receive notice of your exact adjustment in the “messages” tab within your SSA portal. To ensure you don’t miss any news, select email or text notifications under message center preferences.
You can also crunch the numbers yourself and calculate your new Social Security benefit by multiplying the percentage increase by your current monthly benefit amount.
Say you’re receiving $1,822, which is the current average monthly benefit for retirees. When multiplied by 3.2% or 0.032%, the estimated COLA, you can expect a monthly benefit in 2024 of about $1,880 — a $58 increase.
Making the most of your Social Security income
Leaving the workforce changes how you cover your day-to-day expenses. According to the SSA, Social Security benefits represent about 30% of the income of people over age 65, and nearly 9 out of 10 people 65 and older receive Social Security.
With a monthly benefit of $1,822, rising interest rates and higher food prices, it can be difficult for the average recipient to make ends meet. However, there are ways you can stretch and supplement those benefits to accommodate your lifestyle.
Parking your Social Security payments, or a portion of them, in an interest-bearing account is an easy way to boost retiree benefits. In fact, many banks and credit unions are currently offering high-yield savings accounts with rates of 4% or even 5% in many cases.
For retirees who have the ability to lock away a chunk of their monthly payment, they might benefit from a certificate of deposit (CD). Because you’re committing to locking up your funds for a set period of time, banks and credit unions typically offer more lucrative APYs for these types of accounts.
A money market account is another type of account that generates interest, but unlike CDs, these accounts offer easier access to your funds through debit cards or check-writing privileges.
The annual COLA is based on the percentage increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Data from the third quarter of the last year to the third quarter of the current year is used to calculate the COLA.
How to set up an account on MySSA
Making the most of your benefits starts with knowing exactly how much you’ll receive. Here’s a primer on navigating the SSA website:
Setting up an account is fairly straightforward and can be done at any point, regardless of whether retirement is months away, or years away.
Beneficiaries will need to provide your email address and at least one additional form of authentication, like a phone number or secondary email address to verify your identity.
Next, you’ll be asked for key information including your Social Security number, your full name as it appears on your Social Security card, date of birth, address, and phone number.
Once your account is set up, you can use it to manage your benefits, estimate your future benefits, request a Social Security card if you’ve lost yours, check the status of a benefits application, and more. You can also opt to receive all of your notices online, rather than by mail.