Once you begin collecting Social Security benefits, can the amount increase or decrease?

Published: August 24, 2020

Full question: Once you begin drawing SSA retirement, can it go up or down?

Hi there,

Unless there are major, immediate changes to the Social Security rules, it can only increase. In fact, it can increase in several ways.

First of all, the annual cost of living adjustment, COLA, normally increases benefits unless the COLA is 0%, which occurred in 2009, 2010 and 2015. The highest COLA was 14.3% in 1980.

Also, if you are still working while collecting Social Security benefits and your current year(s) earnings are greater than any of the previous highest 35 years used in your benefit calculation, Social Security will automatically recalculate your benefits to the higher amount.


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