(NEXSTAR) – Social Security recipients are already bracing for a lower increase to their 2024 benefits than they received in 2023, but they won’t know exactly how much they’re getting until the Social Security Administration makes its official announcement next month.
The administration’s annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) are designed to help Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients retain their buying power amid rising inflation. These increases, which are issued annually, are determined using the Bureau of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which itself is a measure of the change in prices for common consumer goods and services.
The Labor Bureau actually releases a revised CPI-W each month, reflecting the change in prices concerning a number of consumer goods and services including food, utilities and shelter. But only the data from a certain few months — specifically July, August and September — are considered when calculating the annual COLA adjustment.
Based on CPI-W data from July and August, 2024’s COLA increase is projected to be significantly lower than the 8.7% increase given to beneficiaries in 2023.
“The Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2024 will likely be 3.2% based on a jump in consumer price data through August,” the Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan senior advocacy group, estimated in a news release issued in mid-September.
The actual adjustment amount could still vary slightly from the group’s estimate, as the data for September has yet to be considered. That CPI-W data, from September, is scheduled to be published in the second week of October — specially, Oct. 12 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern — after which the official COLA increase for 2024 will be announced.
Those increased benefits will take effect in January 2024 for Social Security recipients. Those receiving SSI, on the other hand, will see their first adjusted benefits near the end of December 2023.