The Social Security Administration announced a 2.8 percent increase in benefits in 2019, the largest increase since 2012. The change will put an additional $468 annually in the pocket of the average retired beneficiary.
Cost of living increases are tied to the consumer price index, and an upturn in inflation rates and gas prices means recipients get a boost in 2019. The 2.8 percent increase is higher than last year’s .2 percent rise and the .3 percent increase in 2017. The average monthly benefit of $1,422 in 2018 will increase by $39 a month to $1,461 a month for an individual beneficiary, or $468 yearly. The cost of living change also affects the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax, which will grow from $128,700 to $132,900.
Unlike last year's increase, the additional income should not be entirely eaten up by higher Medicare Part B premiums. The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will increase only $1.50 to $135.50.
For 2019, the monthly federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment standard will be $771 for an individual and $1,157 for a couple.
Most beneficiaries will be able to find out their cost of living adjustment online by logging on to My Social Security.