Posted on October 19, 2015

Typically each year, monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits increase automatically for the almost 65 million Americans who receive them. Rising inflation, measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), sets the pace of these automatic increases.

In 2016, thanks to lower consumer prices in 2015, monthly Social Security and SSI benefits will not automatically increase.

How is this determination made? The Bureau of Labor Statistics compares the third quarter of the current year with the third quarter of the last year a cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) was made. Accordingly, that means we’re comparing the third quarter of 2015 with the third quarter of 2014, a time period during which there was no increase in the consumer price index. As a result, today’s law says there can be no COLA for 2016.

The unchanged CPI-W and subsequent lack of COLA increase in 2016 leads to other situations outside the norm. There will not be changes in the max level of earnings subject to Social Security taxes or retirement earnings test exempt amounts in 2016. Check out this fact sheet for other information about 2016 Social Security and SSI amounts.

We’re still awaiting the Department of Health and Human Services’ announcement on 2016 Medicare premium changes. Information about these changes for 2016 can be found at medicare.gov when they are available.

For additional information on 2016 Social Security and SSI benefits, please go to socialsecurity.gov/cola.


Source: Social Security Administration