Fact Checked

Social Security checks to get biggest boost since 2012

Social Security check sit in the foreground with man standing in the backgroundPhoto by William Thomas Cain / Getty Images News / Getty ImagesImage: Social Security check sit in the foreground with man standing in the background
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Social Security recipients will see a 2.8% increase in their checks starting January next year.

This will be the biggest cost-of-living adjustment in Social Security benefits since 2012 and is larger than the increases from the previous three years combined. The increase is intended to offset the effects of inflation for the more than 62 million Americans — most of whom are retirees — who rely on Social Security benefits.

The increase will translate to an average boost of $39 a month in benefits for retired workers, according to estimates released Thursday by the Social Security Administration. That’s an average check of $1,461 per month for Social Security recipients (or $17,532 per year).

The federal government will also raise the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax to $132,900 from $128,400. That means earners who meet the new threshold will pay an additional $279 in taxes in 2019, along with their employers, according to estimates by the Wall Street Journal.

The purpose of a cost-of-living adjustment is to ensure that the purchasing power of Social Security benefits is not “eroded by inflation,” according to the Social Security Administration. The agency evaluates the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers each year to decide if there will be a cost-of-living adjustment, and if so, what the adjustment should be.

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About the author: Tim Devaney is a personal finance writer and credit card expert at Credit Karma. He’s a longtime journalist who prides himself on being a good storyteller who can explain complex information in an easily digestible wa… Read more.