Social Security benefits are projected to rise 3.2% for 2024, up slightly from prior estimates on higher consumer-price data through August.
Last month’s projected cost-of-living adjustment was 3.0%, according to The Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan advocacy group that has calculated monthly estimates based on the latest inflation data. Consumer prices climbed 3.7% year-over-year in August, according to data released recently by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
An increase in gas prices fueled the rise. The COLA calculation is based on a subset of the headline consumer-price index called the consumer-price index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which rose 3.4% over the past 12 months.
The Social Security Administration will announce the actual COLA in mid-October, based on changes between the average consumer-price index from the third quarter of 2023 and the average data from the same period last year.
About 21.4 percent of Texas County residents are over the age of 65.
A COLA of 3.2% would raise an average monthly retiree benefit of $1,790 by $57.30, according to Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare policy analyst at The Senior Citizens League and author of the projection.
While a 3.2% COLA would be much lower than this year’s historic raise of 8.7%, it’s still higher than the average over the past 20 years, which is 2.6%, according to Johnson. Many seniors’ finances took a hit last year after prices for everyday essentials surged, and they’re still trying to catch up even as inflation has moderated. “Nobody is getting rich,” Johnson said in a statement.
The actual amount that will hit Social Security recipients’ bank accounts each month won’t be clear until Medicare announces the Part B premium for 2024, which typically happens later in the fall. Social Security automatically deducts Part B premiums from most checks. The Senior Citizens Leagues projects that the standard Part B premium for 2024 could be about $179.80 a month, up from this year’s $164.90.