Quick Facts on Social Security’s 1.7% COLA for 2012 The Social Security Administration has just announced that retirement and disability beneficiaries will receive a 1.7% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) beginning in their January 2013 checks. Social Security benefits are automatically adjusted to keep up with the cost of living.

Key points from Social Security’s release:

  • The 2012 COLA will be 1.7%. That compares to a 3.6% increase for 2011 and no increase at all for 2009 or 2010.
  • This 1.7% increase will take effect for the December benefits, which are payable in January.
  • The COLA calculation is based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which is produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

An important point affecting workers:

  • The level of taxable maximum earnings for Social Security will increase to $113,700 in 2013, from the current maximum of $110,100 in 2012. About 6 percent of workers will be affected by this increase.

For more information on taxable earnings and the COLA calculation, see information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Social Security Administration.