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Major Relief: Millions of Social Security Recipients Receive Substantial Monthly Checks

Social Security beneficiaries planning their finances | Getty Images

Yesterday, November 8, COLA claimants who were born before November 10th received their monthly payout up to $4,555.

With this year’s COLA of 8.7%, Social Security recipients are presently receiving checks averaging $1,827, with a maximum payout of $4,555.

Checks for recipients born on November 15th through November 20th should arrive, while checks for recipients born on November 21st or after should arrive on November 22nd.

On October 12, it was revealed that the COLA for 2024 would be 3.2%. This implies that beginning in January, recipients will get an average monthly rise of $58.

COLA and Social Security


The second calendar year following retirement is when COLA, or annual cost-of-living adjustment, kicks in to help your retirement payout keep up with inflation. COLA is paid on the first of May to qualified retirees, including survivors and beneficiaries who get a monthly benefit.

Three elements determine COLA:

  • The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI, 1967), published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) annually
  • Your employer contracted COLA percentage (e.g., 2%, 3%, 4%, or 5%)
  • The year you retired

The CPI is used to calculate inflation rates and is updated annually. When adjusting for COLA, we determine your expected value of money using the CPI in effect at the time of retirement. CalPERS uses the official measure of CPI, which is set by law and is calculated by the BLS, to compute COLA.

The annual CPI for 2022 is 876.664, and the inflation rate is 8.00%.

The cost of an item in relation to its 1967 cost is represented by the CPI. For instance, a $1.00 item would have cost $100,000 in 1967. The identical item would cost $8.77 in 2022.

In order to get the inflation rate in 2022, we

The current year’s rate of inflation may be calculated by using the current year’s annual CPI less the previous year’s annual CPI.

(876.664 – 811.705)/811.705 = 8.00%)

Public agencies can contract for a 2%, 3%, 4%, or 5% annual COLA; most state agencies and all school agencies do so. The law requires us to use the lower of the two if the rate of inflation since retirement exceeds the employer-contracted COLA%.

Unlike CalPERS, which pays benefits in May, the Social Security Administration pays COLA payments in January using a different formula.

The percentage increase in allowance that a retiree will get is shown in the chart below, which takes into account both their retirement year and the employer-contracted COLA rate. Benefits from the Purchasing Power Protection Allowance (PPPA) are also available during some retirement years. Multiplying your current gross allowance by the chart’s COLA and PPPA (if applicable) allowance increase percent will provide an estimate of your 2023 COLA increase.

To calculate the COLA payable to retirees, first compare the employer contract’s compounded COLA percentage with the compounded rate of inflation. The smaller of the two compounded sums is the actual COLA percentage that you will get. The amount you got when you initially retired, before any cost-of-living changes, is what we utilize as your basic allowance.

To calculate COLA, CalPERS:

Step 1:
Calculates the calendar year rate of inflation based on the retirement year.

Equation: (Current Year CPI – Retirement Year CPI) / Retirement Year CPI = Rate of Inflation

Step 2:
Calculate the compounded COLA percentage.

(example based on 2% contracted COLA Provision)

Year 1 COLA factor is 0.0200 (or 2.00%)

Year 2: 1.0200 x 1.02 = 1.0404 – 1 = 0.0404 (or 4.04%)

Year 3: 1.0404 x 1.02 = 1.0612 – 1 = 0.0612 (or 6.12%)

Year 4: 1.0612 x 1.02 = 1.0824 – 1 = 0.0824 (or 8.24%)

Year 5: 1.0824 x 1.02 = 1.1040 – 1 = 0.1040 (or 10.40%)

Step 3:
Use the lesser of the two numbers from steps 1 and 2; this is your COLA factor.
Step 4:
Calculate COLA

Equation: Base allowance at retirement x COLA Factor = COLA


Social Security

According to the SSA, Social Security survivors benefits are given to dependents of qualified workers as well as widows and widowers. This is a particularly significant benefit for newlywed households with kids.

This website can assist you in understanding what to anticipate from Social Security in the event that you or a loved one passes away by providing comprehensive information regarding survivors benefits.

If you pass away, survivors’ benefits could be given to your family. A portion of the taxes you pay into Social Security if you are employed go toward survivor payments. Depending on your income, your parents, spouse, and kids may be eligible for assistance.

When a relative passes away, you can be eligible for survivors benefits. Reimbursement for you and your family may be contingent upon the wages of a deceased employee. For benefits to be eligible, the deceased individual had to have worked long enough.

When someone passes away, you should tell Social Security right away. Nevertheless, you are unable to file for survivors benefits or record a death online.

The funeral home will usually notify us of the person’s passing. If you would like the funeral home to file the report, you should provide them with the dead person’s Social Security number.

Benefits may not always be retroactive, so if you are not receiving them, you should file for survivors benefits as soon as possible.

If your parents’ or spouse’s record shows that you are receiving benefits, in most cases, you won’t have to submit an application to get survivors benefits. As soon as we learn of your death, we’ll immediately convert any monthly payments you make to survivors benefits. The Special Lump-Sum Death Payment could be disbursed automatically.

If your record shows that you are receiving retirement or disability benefits, you must apply. We’ll investigate your eligibility for a larger benefit as a widow or widower.

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