Automatic Determinations
Contribution & Benefit Base
Wageindexed Amounts
Year of Coverage 
Latest amount & definition
The "oldlaw" contribution and benefit base for 2023 is $118,800.
This is the base that would have been effective without the enactment of the
1977 amendments to the Social Security Act. The presentlaw
contribution and benefit base is substantially higher
than the oldlaw base.
Purpose of the oldlaw base
The oldlaw contribution and benefit base is used by:
 the Railroad Retirement program to determine certain tax liabilities
and tier II benefits payable under that program to supplement the tier I
payments which correspond to basic Social Security benefits,
 the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to determine the maximum amount
of pension guaranteed for singleemployer plans under the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act,
 Social Security to determine a year of coverage in
computing the special minimum benefit,
and
 Social Security to determine a year of coverage (acquired whenever earnings
equal or exceed 25 percent of the oldlaw base for this purpose only) in
computing benefits for persons who are also eligible to receive pensions
based on noncovered employment.
Determination of the oldlaw contribution and benefit base for 2023
The formula for determining the oldlaw contribution and benefit base is
set by law. The formula is applicable only if a
costofliving increase becomes effective for
December of the year in which a determination of the base would ordinarily be made.
Because there is a costofliving increase for December 2022, the formula is
applicable. According to the formula, the oldlaw contribution and benefit base
for 2023 is determined to be the 1994 oldlaw base ($45,000) multiplied by the
ratio of the national average wage index for 2021 to
that for 1992, or, if larger, the 2022 oldlaw base ($109,200). If
the amount so determined is not a multiple of $300, it is rounded to the
nearest multiple of $300.
Calculation details
Amounts in formula 
1994 oldlaw base  $45,000 
1992 average wage index  22,935.42 
2021 average wage index  60,575.07 
Computation  $45,000 times 60,575.07 divided by
22,935.42 equals $118,850.15, which rounds to $118,800 
Higher amount  $118,800 exceeds the 2022
oldlaw base, so the oldlaw base for 2023 is $118,800 
