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The increase in Social Security benefits will help millions of families

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More than 70 million Americans who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are about to get a significant increase in monthly payments. This financial boost will help seniors, as well as children and families, make ends meet during a time of steep inflation and economic strain.

Social Security and SSI payments are going up because the government decided on an 8.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2023. This COLA is the largest one seen in over four decades, since 1981’s COLA of 11.2 percent.

“A COLA of 8.7% is extremely rare and would be the highest ever received by most Social Security beneficiaries alive today,” said Mary Johnson, a policy analyst at the Senior Citizens League.

How the increase in benefits will impact children

Besides retirees and people with disabilities, about 4 million children also currently receive Social Security and SSI benefits. That’s because the system is designed to give kids a financial safety net when, for example, a parent dies or a parent’s employment is affected by a disability.

Retirees with younger children can also get support with caregiving costs from the Social Security Administration. Plus, with so many grandparents and other family members helping to raise children, the growth in benefits will make a real impact on both kids’ and caregivers’ quality of life.

Cassandra Gentry, a 70-year-old low-income retiree in Washington, has taken in her two grandchildren to give them a safer home environment. They live in an apartment building that’s home to 50 “grandfamilies” made up of grandparents who are raising grandchildren.

The monthly payment increase “is going to help us, and it’s going to be a benefit because the cost of everything has gone up,” she told AP News, referencing her struggle with the high costs of food and other basic living expenses.

When and how much the payments will go up

Current Social Security and SSI beneficiaries will receive a notice in December explaining exactly how much their checks will increase for 2023. On average, the increase will be around $146 per month for a retiree, $282 per month for a widow or widower with children, and $119 per month for a worker with disabilities.

The higher payments will arrive early in January, or at the end of December if you receive SSI (due to the holiday calendar). The Social Security Administration is encouraging all beneficiaries to set up a my Social Security account by November 15 to receive updated benefit information in the most efficient way.


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Joanna Eng is a freelance writer and editor, Lambda Literary Fellow, and co-founder of Dandelions, a parenting and social justice newsletter. She lives with her wife and child in the New York City area, where she is constantly seeking out slivers of nature. You can find her on Twitter @joannamengland.