Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Information for 2015
Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 64 million Americans will increase 1.7 percent in 2015.
The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 58 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2015. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2014.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA)?
The purpose of the COLA is to ensure that the purchasing power of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits is not eroded by inflation. It is based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of the last year a COLA was determined to the third quarter of the current year. If there is no increase, there can be no COLA.
Who determines the CPI-W?
The CPI-W is determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Department of Labor. By law, it is the official measure used by the Social Security Administration to calculate COLAs.
Will the retirement earnings test exempt amounts change in 2015?
Yes. The earnings limit for workers who are younger than "full" retirement age (age 66 for people born in 1943 through 1954) will be $15,720. (We deduct $1 from benefits for each $2 earned over $15,720.)
The earnings limit for people turning 66 in 2015 will be $41,880. (We deduct $1 from benefits for each $3 earned over $41,880 until the month the worker turns age 66.) There is no limit on earnings for workers who are "full" retirement age or older for the entire year.
How long has Social Security had COLAs?
Congress enacted the COLA provision as part of the 1972 Social Security Amendments, and automatic annual COLAs began in 1975. Before that, benefits were increased only when Congress enacted special legislation.