Social Security checks to rise in January

Retirees are set to see the biggest increase in their monthly Social Security checks in seven years.

The Social Security Administration’s cost-of-living adjustment for the coming year is 2.8 percent, which will boost the average beneficiary’s check by about $39 per month (or $468 per year). The increase is the largest since 2012.

It will raise the current maximum benefit collected by someone who retires at full retirement age – age 66 for people born in 1943 through 1954 – by about $73 per month. About 67 million Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries will be impacted.

The cost-of-living adjustment was 2 percent in 2018, or $27 per month on average, but was largely perceived to be offset by increases in Medicare costs. Medicare Part B premiums are projected to increase by about $1.50 to $135.50 per month in 2019.

The 2018 Social Security benefits increase followed a 0.3 percent rise in 2017 and no increase in 2016.

Cost-of-living adjustments, which began in 1975, are implemented in order to counteract the effects of inflation. Prior to that year, check amounts were determined by legislation.

The biggest increases went into effect in the years 1981 and 1982, at 14.3 percent and 11.2 percent, respectively.

The new monthly rates will go into effect for Supplemental Security Income on Dec. 31 and on Jan. 1 for Social Security.