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Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2024

January 1, 2024

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced an 3.2% Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2024. This means that people on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will be receiving a 3.2% increase in their benefits for 2024.

We have listed some example dollar amounts from SSA below, but you can find out your exact amount in your “my Social Security” account at ssa.gov/myaccount. You should have received a paper notice from Social Security in December.

Noteworthy Changes

From the SSA’s COLA Fact Sheet, here are some actual dollar amounts with the 3.2% increase factored in:

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) Limit Increase

SGA limit increased from $1,470 to $1,550 per month, and from $2,460 to $2,590 per month for those who are legally blind. Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is Social Security’s term for “a living wage”. To be eligible for SSDI benefits, your impairment must prevent you from earning a living wage, which they consider to be $1,550 or more per month.
Note that this income limit is only for earned income. SSDI only considers the income you earn while working. While your income sources must be documented and made clear to SSA, some examples of unearned income are paid sick leave, personal time, Worker’s Compensation, Short or Long-Term Disability benefits, inheritance, investments, lottery winnings. For SSDI, unearned = unlimited and goes unchanged.

Trial Work Period (TWP) Threshold Increase

Trial Work Period (TWP) threshold will increase from $1,050 to $1,110 per month.

SSI Federal Payment Standard

  • For an Individual, SSI will go from $914 to $943 per month
  • For Couples, SSI will go from $1,371 to $1,415 per month

SSI Student Exclusion

  • Monthly limit will go from $2,220 to $2,290
  • Annual limit will go from $8,950 to $9,230 per year

SSI Resource Limits

Sadly, this limit has still not been increased since 1989; it remains at $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples.
NOTE: In 2022, the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act‘ (S.4102) was introduced to the Senate by Ohio’s very own Senator Sherrod Brown. If passed, this bill would increase the limits to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for couples, and would adjust annually for inflation. While the Senate has failed to act, Rep. Higgins (NY) introduced the bill (as H.R.5408) to the House of Representatives in September 2023. H.R.5408 was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. You can visit this link to view the status of the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act as H.R.5408 and to write to your Representative to encourage them to move this bill forward and to vote yes (on the right side, under “Give Feedback on This Bill”, click “Contact Your Member”).

Estimated Average Monthly Social Security Benefits Payable in January 2024

  • Average monthly benefit for all Disabled Workers – anticipated increase to $1,537 in 2024, from $1,489 in 2023. The maximum benefit anyone can receive is $3,822 per month.
  • Disabled Worker, Spouse and One or More Children – increase from $2,636 to $2,720
  • All Retired Workers – increase from $1,827 to $1,907
  • Aged Couple, Both Receiving Benefits – increase from $2,939 to $3,033
  • Widowed Mother and Two Children – increase from $3,540 to $3,653
  • Aged Widow(er) Alone – increase from $1,718 to $1,773

Historical Cost-of-Living Adjustments

Annual COLA Percentages by Year

The following table with percentages by year chart is published at https://www.ssa.gov/cola/

Screenshot of Automatic Cost-Of-Living Adjustments received since 1975 - annual percentages chart published at https://www.ssa.gov/cola/

COLA increases occur to retain the value of Social Security benefits against inflation. The rate of inflation is measured using the Consumer Price Index.

Before 1975, Social Security benefits were only increased when Congress “enacted special legislation”. We are certainly grateful that is no longer the case.

Annual SGA Dollar Amount by Year

This table was published by the SSA at https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/sga.html

Monthly substantial gainful activity amounts by disability type
YearBlindNon-blind
1975$200$200
1976230230
1977240240
1978334260
1979375280
1980417300
1981459300
1982500300
1983550300
1984580300
1985610300
1986650300
1987680300
1988700300
1989740300
1990780500
1991810500
1992850500
1993880500
1994930500
YearBlindNon-blind
1995$940$500
1996960500
19971,000500
19981,050500
19991,110700a
20001,170700
20011,240740
20021,300780
20031,330800
20041,350810
20051,380830
20061,450860
20071,500900
20081,570940
20091,640980
20101,6401,000
20111,6401,000
20121,6901,010
20131,7401,040
20141,8001,070
YearBlindNon-blind
2015$1,820$1,090
20161,8201,130
20171,9501,170
20181,9701,180
20192,0401,220
20202,1101,260
20212,1901,310
20222,2601,350
20232,4601,470
20242,5901,550
  a $500 amount applied in the first half of 1999. https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/sga.html