Social Security Benefits Projected To Increase Again In 2019
It’s that time of the year again and news of a 2019 Social Security increase is making the rounds. While the official number won’t be out until late October, the news so far is good. Thanks to a strong economy under Trump, recipients could be seeing a bigger increase than last year.
Last year, Social Security beneficiaries saw an increase of 2%. After a meager raise of 0.3% in 2017, and no bump in benefits in 2015 and 2016, this was a welcome change. For 2019, the increase is expected to be 3%.
The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), should the estimates hold true, would be the largest Social Security increase since 2012. Based on the average benefit amount of $1404, recipients can expect an increase of $42 a month.
In addition, for those reaching full-retirement age in 2018, earning the maximum benefit of $2788 a month, the increase would be $85. As usual, we know this isn’t enough but it’s certainly better than nothing.
Currently, the COLA estimate for 2019 is based on Consumer Price Index data through April. However, the actual number in October will come based on the third quarter CPI (July-September) so it could be higher or lower.
“Our estimate could change, because we still have several months of CPI data to go before the COLA is announced in October,” Mary Johnson, The Senior Citizens League’s Social Security policy analyst, said in a statement.
Unfortunately, Johnson also said that Social Security recipients won’t be getting too excited over the increase. Why? Because inflation and the dreadful Medicare premiums take a bite out of the increase.