COLAs are referred to cost-of-living adjustments. Social Security’s benefit increases have been determined by the hike in cost of living which is measured by the Consumer Price Index. The increases are termed Cost-of-Living Adjustments. At times adjustments are made to Social Security as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to prevent inflation.

When the cost-of-living rises, the monthly Federal Social Security benefit and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) increases for recipients. In turn, when the cost-of-living remains the same and has not risen recipient’s monthly benefit amount will remain the same. Currently, for 2016, there is no increase in both Social Security benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income.

The present highest monthly federal benefit rate for an individual/child is $783 and for a couple it is $1,175. Keep in mind the Social Security Administration (SSA) takes into consideration a recipient’s living arrangements as well as resources. For example, if the recipient lives alone or lives in a household of another. In addition, the present resource limits are $2,000 for an individual/child and $3,000 for a couple.​

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a table that displays SSI Monthly Payment Amounts from 1975 to 2016 in reference to COLAs for a given year. As for the COLA for 2017, we will have to wait and see the consumer price numbers during the last quarter of the year to see if there will be an increase in benefits or if the benefits will remain the same. For more facts regarding COLA you can read the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) COLA Factsheet.