News and Commentary

Social Security Announces Cost of Living Adjustment for 2021 by Lee F. Hediger

The Social Security Administration recently announced a 1.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to the benefits it will pay in 2021 to more than 70 million senior citizens and special needs children and adults eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This modest increase, down from a 1.4 percent adjustment for 2020, marks the second-lowest COLA ever paid, providing recipients with just a few extra dollars during a difficult financial period brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index, as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the 2021 adjustment is a stark reminder that Social Security alone should never serve as the basis of an individual’s retirement plan nor for the perpetual care of family members with disabilities or special needs. Because governmental assistance is not guaranteed, individuals at all income levels should plan ahead to help secure their financial future and that of their loved ones.

Engaging the assistance of experienced financial planners is a good starting point. These professionals can assess your current circumstances and project forward what resources and estate-planning tools you will need in the future to help maintain your lifestyle in the future as the cost of living increases. This may involve allocating savings to a tax-advantaged 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or an insurance policy that provides a financial benefit to surviving family members when a policyholder dies. Additionally, advisors can help you identify the appropriate type of trust you may create to protect assets from creditors and provide financial assistance to surviving family members. In the case of the parents of a special-needs child, a trust can safeguard assets to provide continuous care long after the parents are gone and without jeopardizing the child’s eligibility for public assistance.

The professionals with Provenance Wealth Advisors (PWA) work with families across the globe and of various income levels to develop and implement comprehensive estate plans intended to build and preserve wealth for multiple generations. The firm provides complementary evaluations of clients’ financial lifestyles to identify potential issues and opportunities required to put financial houses in order while maintaining tax efficiency.

About the Author: Lee F. Hediger is a co-founding director with Provenance Wealth Advisors, an Independent Registered Investment Advisor affiliated with Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs, and a registered representative with Raymond James Financial Services. For more information, call (954) 712-8888 or email

Provenance Wealth Advisors, 515 E. Las Olas Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954) 712-8888. 

Lee F. Hediger is a registered representative of and offers securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. 

 Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants. PWA is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Investment Advisory Services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc., and Provenance Wealth Advisors. 

 This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of the advisors of PWA and not necessarily those of Raymond James. All information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Please note, changes in tax laws may occur at any time and could have a substantial impact upon each person’s situation. RJFS does not provide tax advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.