Social Security 2017

2017 Social Security benefits increase was 03.%, after social security recipients received no increase in 2016. Social Security Benefits

2016 Social Security benefits did not include a cost-of-living increase. This is due to the inflation measurement that is used to determine COLA was actually negative, no inflation. Fortunately, SSA benefits cannot decrease even if there is negative inflation.

This is the third time in the last 6 years that there has been no increase in COLA or social security benefits.  Last year the COLA increase was 1.7%.  The difficulty for many retirees is that despite the negative inflation many will be faced with increased premiums on Medicare, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program and many other healthcare policies.  About a third of the approximate 50 million Medicare recipients will see over a 50% increase in Medicare Part B premiums.

Cheaper gas prices can be blamed for no COLA increase, an expense Social Security recipients typically stand to benefit from the least.  This is because the price of gas, a measurement used to determine COLA, continues to drop.

To calculate the 2017 COLA (Cost-of-Living Adjustments) increase, if any, the average of the indices of July (.02%), August (TBA), and September (TBA) 2016 are be compared with the 2014 3rd quarter average. The end result is the percentage by which Social Security benefits are adjusted. This is referred to as the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).

CPI-W Measurement
2014 2016
July 234.53 234.789
August 234.030  234.909
September 234.170
Third quarter total 702.73
Average (rounded to the nearest 0.001) 234.242
Inflation According to the CPI-W

Third quarter 2014 will be used for the three month average comparison as the law dictates that the SSA use the same three months of “the last year in which COLA became effective”. There was no COLA increase in 2015.

For August and September 2016, the index increased 0.3% prior to seasonal adjustment.

History of Social Security COLA (cost-of-adjustments) since 1975
Year COLA Year COLA Year COLA
1975 8.00% 1989 4.00% 2003 1.40%
1976 6.40% 1990 4.70% 2004 2.10%
1977 5.90% 1991 5.40% 2005 2.70%
1978 6.50% 1992 3.70% 2006 4.10%
1979 9.90% 1993 3.00% 2007 3.30%
1980 14.30% 1994 2.60% 2008 2.30%
1981 11.20% 1995 2.80% 2009 5.80%
1982 7.40% 1996 2.60% 2010 0.00%
1983 N/A 1997 2.90% 2011 0.00%
1984 3.50% 1998 2.10% 2012 3.60%
1985 3.50% 1999 1.30% 2103 1.70%
1986 3.10% 2000 2.50% 2014 1.50%
1987 1.30% 2001 3.50% 2015 1.70%
1988 4.20% 2002 2.60% 2016 0.00%
2017 0.3%
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