Social Security benefits will increase in 2024
Millions of Social Security beneficiaries will see a 3.2% increase in profits in 2024, much less than this year's historic boost and reflecting the moderation of the consumer prices .
The cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, means the average beneficiary will receive more than $50 more each month starting in January, the Social Security Administration said Thursday. The AARP estimated that increase at $59 per month.
“This will help millions of people keep up with their expenses,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, acting commissioner of Social Security.
About 71 million people (including retirees, the disabled and children) receive Social Security benefits.
Thursday's announcement follows an 8.7% profit increase this year, caused by record inflation in 40 years , which raised the price of consumer goods. With inflation declining, the next annual increase will be noticeably smaller.
Still, leading advocates applauded the annual adjustment.
“Retirees can rest a little easier at night knowing they will soon receive an increase in their Social Security checks to help them keep up with rising prices,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. "We know older Americans still feel the pain when they buy food and gas, making every dollar count."
Social Security is funded by payroll taxes collected from workers and their employers. The maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security payroll taxes will be $168,600 for 2024, up from $160,200 for 2023.
Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, a social security program advocacy group, said the COLA is a "reminder of the unique importance of Social Security" and that "Congress should pass legislation to protect and expand benefits." .
But the program faces a serious financial shortfall in the coming years.
The report Social Security and Medicare trustees' annual report released in March said the program's trust fund will not be able to pay all benefits starting in 2033. If the trust fund is depleted, the government will only be able to pay 77% of scheduled benefits, according to the report . saying.
There have been legislative proposals to shore up Social Security, but they have not made it past committee hearings.
A survey from March conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that a majority of American adults oppose proposals that would cut Medicare or Social Security benefits, and 79% of people surveyed said they oppose reducing the size of Social Security benefits.
COLA is calculated based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' consumer price index, or CPI. But there are calls for the agency to instead use a different index, the CPI-E, which measures price changes based on seniors' spending patterns, such as the costs of health care, food and medicine.
Any change to the calculation would require congressional approval. But with decades of inaction on Social Security and the House gridlocked after the impeachment of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., seniors and their advocates say they have no confidence that any kind of change will pass soon.
Cost-of-living adjustments have a big impact for people like Alfred Mason, an 83-year-old Louisiana resident. Mason said that “any increase is welcome, because it sustains us through what we are going through.”
As inflation remains high, he said, anything that adds to his income “would be greatly appreciated.”
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