6 On Your Side Answers: COLA takes effect Jan. 1

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The U.S. Social Security Administration announced in October that beneficiaries will receive a 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, in 2019.

The COLA takes effect Jan. 1 for more than 62 million people who receive Social Security benefits. 

Those on SSI, for more than 8 million people who receive Supplemental Security Income benefits, they too saw the same increase effective Dec. 31.

SSI benefits supplement  people who are aged, blind or disabled and who have little to no income.

As a result, a single worker who was receiving $1,422 per month in Social Security benefits prior to the COLA would receive $1,461 after the COLA takes effect, according to Social Security Administration estimates. That’s an increase of $39 a month.

A couple receiving $2,381 before the COLA would receive $2,448 after. That’s a jump of $67 a month.

The cost of living adjustment was 2 percent in 2018. The 2.8 percent increase for this year is the largest since 2012, when beneficiaries received a 3.6 percent bump

By law, COLAs, cost of living adjustments, are tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers maintained by the U.S. Department of Labor.    

COLAs are meant to counteract the effect of inflation on Social Security and SSI payments.

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