Why Social Security’s COLA Isn’t Enough

CW: Poverty

According to current estimates, the COLA will be under 3% in September 2023, a significant decrease from this year’s cost of living adjustment.

The 8.7% increase in payments was the largest since 1981. It was intended to help mitigate the increasing inflation that would reduce recipients’ purchasing power.

The official 2024 cost-of-living adjustment is scheduled to be published on October 12. That is when the September inflation figures are released. The Social Security Administration calculates the yearly COLA based on the third-quarter percentage rise in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).

CPI-W increases for July, August, and September are put together and averaged before being compared to the Q3 average from the previous year. The percentage difference is the amount of the COLA. The COLA will be effective starting in January 2024.

The CPI-W increased by 2.6% year on year in July 2023, according to current inflation statistics. The average monthly inflation rate, on the other hand, has risen at a somewhat faster rate, which is why most 2024 COLA predictions are around 3%. A 3% COLA, according to the Senior Citizens League, would increase the average monthly Social Security benefit by $53.70. For those who receive SSI, this will mean the maximum benefit will be $967.70.

September is the final month for determining the 2024 COLA. Inflation would have to soar for the COLA to be greater than 3%. This year’s COLA was the largest in 42 years.

People with disabilities should not have to worry about food or housing. Nobody should have to worry about this. Everyone should be able to afford all of their basic expenses. Millions of Americans rely on Social Security benefits, which should provide a livable income.


Cariaga, Vance. “Social Security: What’s the Best-Case Scenario for 2024 COLA Increase as of September 2023?” GOBankingRates, ConsumerTrack, Inc 10 Sept. 2023, http://www.gobankingrates.com/retirement/social-security/social-security-best-case-scenario-2024-cola-increase-september-2023.

Tanner, Jeremy. “Social Security 2023: Here’s When the 8.7% Increase in Benefits Kicks In.” The Hill, The Hill, 16 Dec. 2022, https://thehill.com/homenews/3772643-social-security-2023-heres-when-the-8-7-increase-in-benefits-kicks-in/.

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