ST. GEORGE — Once the holidays have passed and the decorations are put away, some older Americans — over 71 million of them — will receive one more gift. And this one is coming from the government.

Stock photo | Photo by BackyardProduction/iStock/ Getty Images Plus, St. George News

Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments in 2024 will increase by an average of 3.2% or about $50 a month, the administration said in its upcoming December 2023 newsletter.

“Social Security and SSI benefits will increase in 2024, and this will help millions of people keep up with expenses,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security in a news release.

Federal benefit rates increase when the cost-of-living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index. The index rises when inflation increases, leading to a higher cost-of-living, and this change means prices for goods and services, on average, are higher.

“We will mail COLA notices throughout the month of December to retirement, survivors, and disability beneficiaries, SSI recipients, and representative payees,” The Social Security Administration said. “But if you want to know your new benefit amount sooner, you can securely obtain your Social Security COLA notice online using the Message Center in your personal my Social Security account.

Recipients can access this information in early December, prior to receiving the mailed notice. Benefit amounts will not be available before December. Since you will receive the COLA notice online or in the mail, you don’t need to contact us to get your new benefit amount, according to the news release.

January 2024 marks when other changes will happen based on the increase in the national average wage index. For example, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax in 2024 will be higher. The retirement earnings test exempt amount will also change in 2024. Click here for more information.