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SS cola %
Old 09-10-2014, 06:27 AM   #1
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SS cola %

On occasion, I thought that the government raised SS payments across the board. I'm pretty sure that this does not occur every year, but I'm pretty sure it's happened several times in the last 20-30 years.

Can anyone point me to information about the average yearly COLA for SS, or to some table of SS COLA increases over the last several years?
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Old 09-10-2014, 06:32 AM   #2
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Automatic Determinations in Recent Years

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The tables below provide Social Security program amounts that are automatically adjusted each year according to formulas in the Social Security Act. Column headings link to more detail.
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Old 09-10-2014, 06:42 AM   #3
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I've been using 1% as the SS cola increase in my planning.
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:10 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by trapperjohn View Post
On occasion, I thought that the government raised SS payments across the board. I'm pretty sure that this does not occur every year, but I'm pretty sure it's happened several times in the last 20-30 years.

Can anyone point me to information about the average yearly COLA for SS, or to some table of SS COLA increases over the last several years?
Ever heard of google? History of Automatic Cost-of-Living Adjustments

It does occur every year.

Quote:
Automatic Cost-Of-Living Adjustments
July 1975 -- 8.0%
July 1976 -- 6.4%
July 1977 -- 5.9%
July 1978 -- 6.5%
July 1979 -- 9.9%
July 1980 -- 14.3%
July 1981 -- 11.2%
July 1982 -- 7.4%
January 1984 -- 3.5%
January 1985 -- 3.5%
January 1986 -- 3.1%
January 1987 -- 1.3%
January 1988 -- 4.2%
January 1989 -- 4.0%
January 1990 -- 4.7%
January 1991 -- 5.4%
January 1992 -- 3.7%
January 1993 -- 3.0%
January 1994 -- 2.6%
January 1995 -- 2.8%
January 1996 -- 2.6%
January 1997 -- 2.9%
January 1998 -- 2.1%
January 1999 -- 1.3%
January 2000 -- 2.5%(1)
January 2001 -- 3.5%
January 2002 -- 2.6%
January 2003 -- 1.4%
January 2004 -- 2.1%
January 2005 -- 2.7%
January 2006 -- 4.1%
January 2007 -- 3.3%
January 2008 -- 2.3%
January 2009 -- 5.8%
January 2010 -- 0.0%
January 2011 -- 0.0%
January 2012 -- 3.6%
January 2013 -- 1.7%
January 2014 -- 1.5%

(1) The COLA for December 1999 was originally determined as 2.4 percent based on CPIs published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pursuant to Public Law 106-554, however, this COLA is effectively now 2.5 percent.
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:22 AM   #5
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Ouch, pb4uski...

Count me as one of those who also doesn't think that SS is going away, and that there will (normally) be a COLA. I'm using an estimate of 1.5% in my planning, which is well below the historical average since 1975, but there have been adjustments recently as to how the increase is determined. Funny, but I ran several models using the historical average, 1.5% and something in-between. If I use the historical average (which would be 4.1% if you average ever year since 1975), the amount that I would get at 70 simply seemed *way* too high. Although, if it did average 4.1% increase every year, then my coffee, bacon and eggs are going to go up too, so ...
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:24 AM   #6
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My MIL used to complain that the $ increase in her SS was just enough to cover the $ increase in medicare premiums. I looked it over - and she was correct - within a few dollars.

Fortunately, she is the absolutely reigning queen of living below your means, as a depression baby.... She has about $1800 coming in each month, but only spends about 600 each month during fall/spring. (It goes up in winter and summer due to HVAC. )
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:46 AM   #7
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Ouch, pb4uski...
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Originally Posted by trapperjohn View Post
On occasion, I thought that the government raised SS payments across the board. I'm pretty sure that this does not occur every year, but I'm pretty sure it's happened several times in the last 20-30 years.

Can anyone point me to information about the average yearly COLA for SS, or to some table of SS COLA increases over the last several years?
Ok, ok - I deserve that but it seems that too often posters are looking for information that is very readily available. I typed "social security benefit increases" into google and it offered the webpage I attached. It took all of 10 seconds.
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:53 AM   #8
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Well, ok then. I'll not ask anymore questions until consult the holder of all knowledge ... Google.

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Old 09-10-2014, 09:08 AM   #9
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Well, ok then. I'll not ask anymore questions until consult the holder of all knowledge ... Google.

.
This is a great place for all sorts of info. But generally I think you'll find it's best for all if you first do a little fishing yourself, get the basics, and then ask questions if that info doesn't make sense to you, or you have some follow up question beyond the basics.

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Old 09-10-2014, 09:11 AM   #10
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Thanks for providing that interesting table, pb4uski, even though I'm sure it was pretty easy to find.

I looked and apparently the 2015 SS COLA isn't available quite yet. IIRC it is based on the ratio of third quarter 2014 CPI-W and third quarter 2013 CPI-W. The third quarter 2014 CPI-W should become available from the BLS in October.
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Old 09-10-2014, 09:22 AM   #11
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Next year's COLA is based on this quarter's CPI, so it will be late October when it's known.

The military retired pay COLA has the same basis, and it's tracked here:
COLA Watch : MOAA
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Old 09-10-2014, 09:26 AM   #12
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Next year's COLA is based on this quarter's CPI, so it will be late October when it's known.

The military retired pay COLA has the same basis, and it's tracked here:
COLA Watch : MOAA
Thanks! 1.8% (the possibility mentioned at your link) would be great.
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:01 AM   #13
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Well, ok then. I'll not ask anymore questions until consult the holder of all knowledge ... Google.

.
Seriously, that is what I do if I really want to know something. The hits on a Google search can sometimes be more helpful and accurate and are available immediately vs waiting for random answers here and remembering to come back and check a thread. But the responses here can be much more entertaining than boring old statistics from a .gov website and the different perspectives our membership offers.
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:09 AM   #14
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The personal take on things is what makes this forum so useful. That and the fact that people here can forewarn us of the little 'gotchas' that seem to infest so many things these days.
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:27 AM   #15
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Thanks! 1.8% (the possibility mentioned at your link) would be great.
Yes, but notice that it dipped in July. If that trend continues for August and September, it could be much lower. But I'd be surprised if it wound up under 1% so I'm counting on at least that much.
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Old 09-10-2014, 03:34 PM   #16
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You will know for sure the actual cumulative amount on 10/22/14, at 8:30 AM EST to be effective on 1/1/15 when the BLs releases the number for September 2014.

Medicare will also be releasing the new rates for Medicare Premiums for 2015 sometime in October (not necessarily to coincide with the BLS release).

Retired Military actually will get the increase in December (Payment made on 12/31/14 effective 1/1/15).

1.7-1.9% increase seems like a good IMO "guess".
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:20 PM   #17
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You will know for sure the actual cumulative amount on 10/22/14, at 8:30 AM EST to be effective on 1/1/15 when the BLs releases the number for September 2014.

Medicare will also be releasing the new rates for Medicare Premiums for 2015 sometime in October (not necessarily to coincide with the BLS release).

Retired Military actually will get the increase in December (Payment made on 12/31/14 effective 1/1/15).

1.7-1.9% increase seems like a good IMO "guess".
The reported CWUR0000SA0 July 2014 number correlates to a 1.8% increase. It will be averaged with the not-yet-known August and September values for the final determination, as you stated.

so......your guess is as good as mine!!
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:22 PM   #18
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A "problem" came up when the politicians decided to re-define the inflation rate, such that it did not include things such as food & energy. The lower percentage for potential COLA means "fixed" payments such as SS continually fall behind the real-world inflation.
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Old 09-11-2014, 05:49 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by trapperjohn View Post
On occasion, I thought that the government raised SS payments across the board. I'm pretty sure that this does not occur every year, but I'm pretty sure it's happened several times in the last 20-30 years.

Can anyone point me to information about the average yearly COLA for SS, or to some table of SS COLA increases over the last several years?
CPI-U data can be found in the Backtest Spreadsheet in this BHEAD thread. Look for a link to version 13d.

CPI-U and SS COLA are different measures, but probably ok to have both sets of data at hand.
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Old 09-11-2014, 07:54 PM   #20
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A "problem" came up when the politicians decided to re-define the inflation rate, such that it did not include things such as food & energy. The lower percentage for potential COLA means "fixed" payments such as SS continually fall behind the real-world inflation.
I'll be the first of many to point out that the CPI number used for SS benefits does include food and energy.
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