Americans receiving Social Security benefits in 2018 can expect to see the program's largest payment increase in years, according to the trustees report released Thursday.
In January, recipients will receive a $28 monthly increase in benefits, which, although amounts to just 2.2%, is much larger than the 0.3% increase in benefits recipients collected this year. In 2016 the program offered no payout increase. The average monthly payment for the program’s 61 million beneficiaries is $1,253.
Despite the good news, Social Security and Medicare are still dealing with looming cash shortfalls. OASDI maintains funding levels will run dry by the mid-2030’s, with Medicare Part A projected to be depleted in 2029—one year later than projected in last year’s analysis.
If Congress allows either fund to be depleted, millions of Americans living on fixed incomes would face steep cuts in benefits.
Neither Social Security nor Medicare faces an immediate crisis. But the trustees warn that the longer Congress waits to address the program's problems, the harder it will be to sustain Social Security and Medicare without significant cuts in benefits, big tax increases or both.