Dec 29, 2023 - Business

When increased 2024 Social Security payments will arrive

Illustration of a one hundred dollar bill on a monthly calendar

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Increased Social Security retirement and disability benefits for 2024 will start to roll out for millions of Americans as early as Friday and throughout January.

Why it matters: The 3.2% cost-of-living adjustment is much smaller than in the last two years. But it still provides a boost for consumers who are dealing with inflation and higher prices.

  • The 2024 retirement benefits will increase by more than $50 per month, the Social Security Administration said.

Flashback: The 2023 increase was a historic 8.7% increase — an average of $140 more per month — the largest hike in more than 40 years.

The big picture: The Social Security Administration uses a formula involving the consumer price index to calculate the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

  • The COLA is based on the change in third-quarter CPI for urban wage and clerical workers compared with a year earlier, Axios' Neil Irwin explains.
  • The adjustments are meant to ensure that monthly checks aren't eaten away by inflation.

How much are Social Security benefits in 2024

For all retired workers, the average benefits are estimated to increase to $1,907, up from the 2023 monthly benefit of $1,848.

Other monthly estimated averages listed on a Social Security Administration fact sheet are:

  • Aged couple, both receiving benefits: $3,033 up from $2,939.
  • Widowed mother and two children: $3,653 up from $3,540.
  • Aged widow alone: $1,773 up from $1,718.
  • Disabled worker, spouse, and one or more children: $2,720 up from $2,636.
  • All disabled workers: $1,537 up from $1,489.

Social Security payment schedule for January 2024

The increase starts with payments in January 2024 for more than 66 million Social Security beneficiaries.

Here's the schedule from the Social Security Administration on when the increased payments are set to arrive:

Dec. 29: January Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for more than 7.5 million beneficiaries will be paid.

Jan. 3: Social Security is paid on the third of each month if you received benefits before May 1997 or if you get both Social Security and SSI.

Jan. 10: Social Security payments for those with birthdays between the first and 10th, get paid on the second Wednesday of the month.

Jan. 17: Social Security payments for birthdays between the 11th and 20th, get paid on the third Wednesday.

Jan. 24: Social Security payments for birthdays between the 21st and 31st, get paid on the fourth Wednesday.

Social Security tax wage cutoff

Meanwhile, the inflation adjustment is also used to calculate the wage cutoff above which Americans do not owe Social Security tax.

  • The maximum earnings subject to the Social Security tax, also known as the taxable maximum, will increase to $168,600 from $160,200.
  • The earnings limit for workers who are younger than their "full retirement age" increases to $22,320.

More from Axios:

Go deeper