Social Security COLA 2022: How Much More Couples, Widows and Disabled Workers Will Earn

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Social Security recipients will be getting their biggest payment increase in 40 years in 2022 thanks to a 5.9% cost-of-living adjustment, pushing the average monthly benefit up to $1,657 for retired workers.

See: Social Security Benefits 2022 — How Medicare Will Significantly Impact Those Earning Less
Find: As ‘Inflation Wipes Out Real Gains,’ How Much of a Raise Will You Need in 2022 To Keep Up?

The COLA is just one of numerous changes to Social Security in 2022. Others include increases in Supplemental Security Income payments, Social Security Disability Income payments and Medicare Part B premiums. All of the increases are in response to spiraling inflation that grew at 6% or more for much of 2021.

The COLA increase has gotten the lion’s share of attention — not only because it is the biggest hike since 1982, but also because it still might not be enough to offset rising prices on everything from gas and groceries to health care and medicine.

A lot depends on how effectively the Federal Reserve can tame inflation with expected interest rate hikes in 2022. Nobody can predict that impact with certainty, but you can plan your budget based on your expected increase in Social Security income.

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See: This Is the Average Social Security Benefit for 2022 With Added COLA
Find: Fed Likely To Hike Interest Rates in June 2022 To Combat Spiking Inflation

Here is how Social Security payments will differ in 2022 for various Social Security recipients, according to the AARP:

  • Couples that both receive benefits: Average monthly payment will rise to $2,753 from $2,599 before the COLA
  • Widowed parent with two children: Average monthly payment will rise to $3,187 from $3,009 
  • Widow(er) living alone: Average monthly payment will rise to $1,553 from $1,467 
  • All disabled workers: Average monthly payment will rise to $1,358 from $1,282 
  • Disabled worker with a spouse and one or more children: Average monthly payment will rise to $2,383 from $2,250 

The COLA is based on the previous year’s increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical workers.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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