How are Social Security benefits increased?
Social Security uses the same formula as the federal retirement programs use. The cost of living adjustment is based on the average Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for the third quarter of each year over the third-quarter average CPI-W index of the previous year.

Social Security COLAs are paid in full regardless of how long the recipient has been receiving benefit, unlike federal retirement COLAs, which are prorated for those retired less than a full year.

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