Social Security/SSI increase announced

By John McPhaul

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced Tuesday that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase 1.3 percent in 2021 for nearly 70 million people.

“The 1.3 percent increase due to the cost of living adjustment (COLA) will take effect in January 2021 for more than 64 million Social Security recipients,” announced Víctor Rodríguez, the SSA’s director of public relations for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, in a written communication. “For the more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries, the increase will take effect on December 31, 2020. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits). The Social Security Law bases the annual COLA on the Consumer Price Index, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor.”

Some of the other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on increases in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax will increase from $137,700 to $142,800.

Notice of the new benefit amount is normally mailed to Social Security and SSI recipients in early December. Most people who receive Social Security benefits will be able to view the COLA notice online through their My Social Security accounts (only available in English). People can create or access their My Social Security account online at

Information about changes in Medicare coverage for 2021, as soon as it is announced, will appear on For those who receive Social Security and Medicare benefits, the new amount of their benefits cannot be calculated until the amount of the monthly Medicare premiums for 2021 is announced. The exact amount of the benefits for 2021 will be released in December via mail-in COLA notices and in the Message Center section of My Social Security.

The Social Security Law establishes how the COLA is calculated. More information is available at

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