It’s official: The 2019 cost of living adjustment for Social Security will be 2.8%, according to the Social Security Administration.
The increase is the largest since 2012, when the COLA was 3.6%, and it tops this year’s 2% level. The average Social Security beneficiary collecting $1,404 a month will receive an additional $39 starting in January, as a result of the 2.8% increase.
The COLA is based on the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, known as CPI-W, between the third quarter of 2017 and the third quarter of 2018. After the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the September CPI increase, at 0.1%, on Thursday morning, the Social Security Administration had all the information needed to calculate the 2019 COLA, which it promptly announced.
In addition to the 2019 COLA, the SSA announced that for the first time Social Security and SSI beneficiaries will be able to view their COLA notice online through their my Social Security account, which can been accessed at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount, and that the maximum earnings amount subject to the Social Security tax in 2019 will be $132,900. That’s 3.5% higher than the $128,400 maximum for 2018 and is based on the increase in average wages, according to the SSA.
Although retiree organizations welcomed the 2019 COLA news, several noted in statements that the 2.8% increase is not enough adequately to cover rising health care, prescription drug and housing costs.