Social Security benefits going up 1.3% in 2021

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The Social Security Administration said Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits will increase 1.3 percent in 2021, providing some relief next January to 64 million Social Security beneficiaries and 8 million SSI recipients in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The increase is part of the Social Security annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, in response to inflation and changes in the Consumer Price Index. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the supply chain of many consumer goods such as food and disinfectant supplies, and many consumers have seen steep increases in the prices of staples such as meat and eggs this year.

Other adjustments that take effect in January are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax will increase to $142,800 from $137,700.

Social Security and SSI beneficiaries can expect to be notified by mail starting in early December about their new benefit amount. Most people who receive Social Security payments will be able to view their COLA notice online through their personal “my Social Security” account, which they can access at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

For some examples of how the changes may affect them, see the fact sheet from the Social Security Administration.

Information about Medicare changes for 2021 will be announced later at www.medicare.gov. For Social Security beneficiaries receiving Medicare, Social Security won’t be able to compute their new benefit amount until after the Medicare premium amounts for 2021 are announced. Final 2021 benefit amounts will be communicated to beneficiaries in December through the mailed COLA notice and my Social Security's Message Center. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

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