COLA Social Security Beneficiaries Set for Big Increase in January

by Victoria Santiago

In January 2022 Social Security will be seeing a big increase. Beneficiaries of the program will be getting a 5.9% COLA (cost-of-living adjustment). The average increase will be $92 a month. The exact amount that all 64 million recipients will get varies.

The U.S. economy has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to that, inflation has skyrocketed. This will be the highest Social Security has been since 1982. The average payment for someone who’s retired is estimated to be around $1,657 a month. For the average couple, that increases to $2,753 a month. The COLA affects the households of one in five Americans. In addition to Social Security, it also includes disabled veterans and federal retirees. Any COLA increase also affects Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). For disabled workers, the average monthly payment will go up by $76, for a total of $1,282 to $1,358 per month.

The COLA is calculated by using third-quarter data from the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. If it drops or stays the same, generally no COLA is given.

Maximizing Social Security While Minimizing Fraud

The best way to avoid getting scammed is to not share your personal information online. Internet phishing schemes can also be started by clicking on fake links or opening unknown attachments that have been sent to you. If you’re waiting for an email, double-check the content and the email address before responding or clicking anything. Most emails from SSA or similar programs will come from an email address that ends in “.gov.”

If you think you’ve received a fake email from the SSA, don’t respond or click on anything in the message. You should report the email to the SSA. To report a scam email, simply forward it to the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) at [email protected]

In addition to being smart about online interactions, some are choosing to retire later so they get a bigger return. Retiring at 70 will give workers the best bang for their buck. If you retire and claim benefits at the age of 62, your benefits could drop by 30%, according to the SSA. Of course, if you wait until your full retirement age to claim, then you will receive 100% of your benefits. Depending on when you were born, your retirement age could vary between 66 years and two months and 67 years. If you wait another year after that, the return goes up to 108%. This percentage goes up even more for those who wait until they’re 70, to 132%.

It’s totally possible to maximize the amount of Social Security you receive. If you max out everything from your work history, you can get up to the full amount. As of next year, the max benefit will be $4,194 a month.