The much-anticipated announcement this past week was the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2024. COLA is the mechanism by which the SSA adjusts benefits most years to account for the effects of inflation. In other words, if the price for a broad basket of goods and services increases, Social Security checks should, ideally, rise by the same amount to ensure no loss of purchasing power.
In 2024, the program's 66.7 million beneficiaries will receive a 3.2% COLA. Compared to the average annual benefit bump of 2.6% over the past 20 years, a 3.2% increase is above average.