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What you need to know about 2019 COLAs & your Social Security benefits

By Christina October 22, 2018

Last week, Social Security published a press release announcing the cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for 2019. The announcement states that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 67 million Americans will increase by 2.8% in 2019.

Beginning in 1975, Social Security implemented automatic annual COLAs, in accordance with legislation that tied COLAs to the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W). This change ensured that Social Security benefits could retain their value for beneficiaries, rather than being overpowered by inflation. You can find a full list of the automatic COLA increases to Social Security benefits since 1975 on the SSA website.

The 2.8% raise in benefits will be effective for benefits payable in January for retirement, survivors, and disability benefits, and for December 31st, 2018 Supplemental Security Income payments.  The average monthly benefit for Social Security disability benefit recipients in 2019 will be $1,234.

While annual COLA adjustment percentages are the same for retirement, SSDI, and SSI benefits, it’s important to remember that a wide variety of factors are measured to determine how much any given individual will receive in monthly Social Security benefits. Depending on the type of benefit(s) you are collecting, your work history, average lifetime FICA tax contributions, age, and more could play a role in determining how much you will receive in monthly benefits. Click here for more information on how Social Security calculates individual benefit amounts.

This year, for the first time, most people who receive Social Security payments will be able to view their COLA notice online through their my Social Security account.  If you do not have a my Social Security account, we encourage you to create one. It’s free and simple to do so, and having an account allows you to easily review key information pertaining to any current Social Security claims or benefits all in one place. If you’d like to create a free my Social Security account online, click here.


Nothing in this post is intended as advice or a suggestion to elect or not elect to claim benefits of any kind, including Social Security benefits, nor is it intended as financial advice in any way.  The decision to claim benefits is a personal one that is contingent upon each individual’s unique circumstances.

Need help applying for SSDI?

Brown & Brown can help you better understand and take advantage of the many benefits of Social Security Disability, to help maximize your financial well-being during your period of disability.