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Automatic Increases

Summary table

Average Wage Index

Cost-Of-Living Adjustment

Several important parameters affect Social Security's Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. We determine these parameters each October by following formulas set by law. Two important parameters are the national average wage index and the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). COLAs and wage-indexed amounts for recent years are summarized in a table. The table's column headings provide links to more detailed data.

We use the national average wage index to "index" earnings for initial benefit computations and to determine several wage-indexed amounts that primarily affect the OASDI program.

COLAs provide annual increases in payments from OASDI and SSI programs.

Automatically increased amounts, as described above, are published in the Federal Register in late October.

Related topics OASDI benefits depend on automatic increases.
Retirement benefit examples are given for people with earnings of at least the maximum-taxable level since age 22.
Maximum Federal Supplementary Security Income (SSI) amounts are based on COLAs.
Taxable maximum for a year is the maximum earnings subject to the Social Security tax (see tax rates).
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Last reviewed or modified Tuesday Mar 18, 2008
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