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Social Security COLA Could Reach 3% in 2023: What You Need to Know

Seniors and millions of others on Social Security receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) that is geared towards aligning their monthly checks with inflation.[0] According to an early estimate from the Senior Citizens League, this year's COLA could be as high as 3 percent, or even lower, based on the 12-month average rate for the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).[1]

The COLA is vital to prevent Social Security beneficiaries from being swamped by inflation, and it was especially important in the last two years, with a 5.9% increase for 2022 and 8.7% for 2023. The maximum Social Security benefit for someone who retires at age 67 is $3,627 per month, while someone retiring at age 70 will receive up to $4,555.

However, if you choose to retire at age 62 in 2023, your maximum benefit would be $2,572 per month. The Social Security Administration reduces your benefits payment due to the fact that you are receiving them over a longer period of time.[2] The monthly Social Security retirement benefit is typically $1,825.

According to Brian Kuhn, a certified financial planner and financial advisor with Wealth Enhancement Group, to realize the maximum benefit, one would have to wait until age 70 to begin taking benefits and consistently reaching the maximum eligible earnings.[3]

The COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) of the Social Security Administration is determined by the percentage increase of the CPI-W (Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers) from the third quarter (July, August,[4] If there's no increase between the two figures, there's no COLA adjustment.[1] The Senior Citizens League's Social Security and Medicare policy analyst, Mary Johnson, has noticed a decrease in the 12-month average rate for CPI-W, even though there was a month-to-month inflation increase in January.[1]

Johnson also said that for there to even be a COLA in 2023, inflation would have to exceed the 8.7% of 2023.[5] She would be happy if there is a modest COLA and then inflation finally goes negative, with prices dropping to a more typical growth pattern by the end of the year.[1]

Finally, Social Security payments are sent out on the second, third, or fourth Wednesday of each month, depending on your birthdate.[6]

0. “Washington Says 1 Big Social Security Change Could Help Retirees Fight Inflation” The Motley Fool, 13 Mar. 2023,

1. “Social Security COLA Could Be 3 percent or Lower Based on Re…” MENAFN.COM, 16 Mar. 2023,

2. “Social Security Benefit Amount: What is the max SS benefit in 2023?” Marca English, 12 Mar. 2023,

3. “Are You on Track to Reach the $4,555 Max Social Security Benefit?” msnNOW, 10 Mar. 2023,

4. “February's Inflation Numbers Could Spell Bad News for Your Upcoming Social Security COLA” The Motley Fool, 17 Mar. 2023,

5. “Why the Social Security COLA may be much lower next year” AS USA, 17 Mar. 2023,

6. “Social Security Update 2023: Upcoming Round Of $4,555 Check To Arrive Soon” PanAsiaBiz, 26 Feb. 2023,

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