Social Security Beneficiaries to Receive .03% Cost of Living Increase

Jeffrey Albertson/18 Oct 2016

In data released today from the Social Security Administration, the 65 million beneficiaries of the Old-Age, Disability, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Programs will receive a cost of living adjustment of .03%. This COLA is the first since a slight 1.7% change in 2014 and 0%  in 2015. Old-Age and Disability payment increases will occur in January 2017, while SSI increases go into effect later this year. According to a press release from the SSA, the increase is “based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) from the third quarter of 2014 through the third quarter of 2016.”

Additionally changing is the income threshold for Substantial Gainful Activity, the determination definition used by the SSA to gauge a claimant’s ability level. For non-blind recipients in 2017, the new level is $1,170 per month, a jump from $1,130 in 2016 and $1,090 in 2015. The blind recipient SGA level increases in 2017 to $1,950, which is the first change since the 2014 level of $1,820. 

Finally, the maximum table earnings limits increases to $127,200 from the previous years figure of $118,500. “Of the estimated 173 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2017, about 12 million will pay more because of the increase in the taxable maximum.”

As a result of the historicly low COLA, monthly benefit payments will only increase by several dollars. The last significant increases were in 2008 at 5.8% and 3.6% in 2011. The years 2009, 2010 and 2015 had no increase. The updated monthly payments are as follows:

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