The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) announced on Thursday its biggest annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase in more than four decades, with Social Security recipients set to get an 8.7% boost in their 2023 monthly payments. 

The Social Security beneficiaries will see the 8.7% increase in their monthly checks beginning in January 2023, the largest hike since 1981.

The change will result in an average benefit increase of more than $140 to $1,827 a month starting in January for the approximately 70 million Social Security recipients.

Acting Social Security Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi said in a statement, “Medicare premiums are going down and Social Security benefits are going up in 2023, which will give seniors more peace of mind and breathing room. This year’s substantial Social Security cost-of-living adjustment is the first time in over a decade that Medicare premiums are not rising and shows that we can provide more support to older Americans who count on the benefits they have earned.”

According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Medicare premium cost will decline by $5.20 per month.

Record inflation is driving the cost-of-living increase. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA adjustment to the Consumer Price Index inflation rate, which is determined by the Department of Labor.

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The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare’s Dan Adcock says the COLA adjustment isn’t an increase in benefits, they just help recipients “tread water.”

“They’re more trying to provide inflation protection so that people can maintain their standard of living,” Adcock said.

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