Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Social Security Administration today announced the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for its retirees for 2019 will increase by 2.8 percent.
The increase is the biggest boost to retiree benefits since 2012, when beneficiaries saw a 3.6 percent increase. This improvement is in line with the 2.8 percent increase predicted by the Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan organization, last month.
Social Security benefits will increase by 2.8 percent beginning with the December 2018 benefits, which are payable in January 2019. Federal SSI payment levels will also increase by 2.8 percent effective for payments made for January 2019.
Because the normal SSI payment date is the first of the month and January 1 is a holiday, the SSI payments for January are always made at the end of the previous December.
More than 67 million Americans will benefit from the 2.8% increase in monthly Social Security and SSI benefits in 2019. Retirees are asked to check #SocialSecurityMatters for more information.
This latest cost-of-living adjustment, however, won’t be enough to make up for the buying power Social Security benefits have lost since 2000, said one policy group. Retirees don’t always get a raise. There were no increases to the COLA in 2016, 2011 and 2010.
The Social Security Act specifies a formula for determining each COLA. According to the formula, COLAs are based on increases in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). CPI-Ws are calculated on a monthly basis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The last year in which a COLA became effective was 2017. The law requires the Social Security Administration use the average CPI-W for the third quarter of 2017 as the base from which to measure the increase in the average CPI-W. The base average is 239.668.
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