The History of the Social Security COLA: A Timeline




The first Social Security COLA — an 8% benefit increase — happened in 1975. The COLAs were effective in June of the applicable year. Since 1982, adjustments have taken effect in December, with benefit increases reflected in January payments.

Over the years, adjustments have ranged from no adjustment — in both 2009 and 2010 — to a high of 14.3% in 1980. The COLA was 5.9% in 2022.

The 2023 COLA will be 8.7%, the biggest increase since 1981. Here are some thoughts on a few notable past COLAs. Tap or hover your mouse over the graph to see the COLAs for each year.

Author(s): Roger Wohlner

Publication Date: 11 Oct 2022

Publication Site: Think Advisor