Despite everything else going on, here’s some good news: Social Security benefits will be higher in 2021.
The raise is due to the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), which will increase benefits 1.3% this year. For an individual retiring at “full” retirement age, the maximum Social Security check will rise to $3,148 a month in 2021 from $3,011 — an increase of $137.
Here’s a breakdown of benefit increases from 2020 to 2021:
Retired worker: $1,543 (+$20)
Retired couple: $2,596 (+$33)
Widow or widower: $1,453 (+$19)
Widow with two kids: $3,001 (+$39)
Disabled worker: $1,277 (+$16)
Disabled worker w/ spouse, kids: $2,224 (+$29)
SSI for individual: $794 (+$11)
SSI for couple: $1,191 (+$16)
Although getting a bigger Social Security check is a plus, keep in mind that policymakers are eyeing raising the full retirement age to 70. That reflects greater longevity and could help keep more money in the Social Security trust fund. There’s been no discussion about changing the early retirement age of 62.
Keep your eye on Washington. Congress has yet to bolster the long-term funding of American’s most successful social benefit. A lot of work needs to be done, so it pays to be vigilant.