Social Security benefits increase each year to offset the costs of inflation. Cost of Living Allowances (COLA) is the program in place to automatically increase benefits.
The first increase in Social Security benefits occurred through an amendment created by Congress in 1950. A second amendment was put in place in 1952 which increased benefits further. For more than 20 years after those two increases, benefits only increased when Congress elected to increase them.
In 1972, Congress wrote legislation to automatically increase the benefits in accordance with the current cost-of-living. This benefit program began in 1975 and protects senior citizens from suffering the worst effects of inflation on Social Security benefits.