Social Security COLA 2023: What Is The Smallest Amount To Expect?

Rising inflation nearly guaranteed that Social Security recipients will get their largest COLA in 41 years in 2023.

According to the Senior Citizens League, COLA for Social Security in 2023 is 8.7%. If that happens, it will be the greatest yearly raise since 1981's 11.2% COLA.

Even if the COLA for 2023 doesn't end up being as high as 8.7%, the smallest possible change will still be close, probably between 8.5% and 8.6%.

COLA is calculated using the CPI for urban wage earners and clerical workers. The average of third-quarter inflation rate is also used.

July, August, and September data will be added and divided by three to get the average. 2022's number will be compared to 2021's third-quarter average to predict 2023's change.

The SSA reports three 0% COLAs since 1975. The CPI-W would drop 25% from August to September for a 0% COLA in 2023. It's impossible.

The CPI-W might drop 2.3% in a month, bringing the 2023 COLA to 7.9%. Given recent inflation, that's nearly impossible.

September's CPI-W may fall faster than August and July. In June, July, and August, the CPI-W decreased 0.1%. Continuing this pattern, August's CPI-W could drop 0.3%. The 2023 COLA would be 8.6%.

Even if inflation reduces twice as rapidly as it has, the 2023 Social Security COLA will be 8.5%. That's about the least you can hope for.