Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will not automatically increase in 2011, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced last week.
This is the second year without an automatic Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) since they went into effect in 1975. Last year was the first year without an automatic COLA.
Social Security and SSI benefits increase automatically each year if there is an increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of the last year a (COLA) was determined, to the third quarter of the current year. Bureau of Labor Statistics data determined there is no increase in the CPI-W from the third quarter of 2008, the last year a COLA was determined, to the third quarter of 2010.
Other changes that would normally take effect based on changes in the national average wage index also will not take effect in 2011. Since there is no COLA, the statute prohibits a change in the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax as well as the retirement earnings test exempt amounts. These amounts will remain unchanged in 2011.