§ 404.277. When does the frozen minimum primary insurance amount increase because of cost-of-living adjustments?

(a) What is the frozen minimum primary insurance amount (PIA)? The frozen minimum is a minimum PIA for certain workers whose benefits are computed under the average-indexed-monthly-earnings method. Section 404.210(a) with § 404.212(e) explains when the frozen minimum applies.

(b) When does the frozen minimum primary insurance amount (PIA) increase automatically? The frozen minimum PIA increases automatically in every year in which you or your dependents or survivors are entitled to benefits and a cost-of-living increase applies.

(c) When are automatic increases effective for old-age or disability benefits based on a frozen minimum primary insurance amount (PIA)? Automatic cost-of-living increases apply to your frozen minimum PIA beginning with the earliest of:

(1) December of the year you become entitled to benefits and receive at least a partial benefit;

(2) December of the year you reach full retirement age (as defined in § 404.409) if you are entitled to benefits in or before the month you attain full retirement age, regardless of whether you receive at least a partial benefit; or

(3) December of the year you become entitled to benefits if that is after you attain full retirement age.

(d) When are automatic increases effective for survivor benefits based on a frozen minimum primary insurance amount (PIA)? (1) Automatic cost-of-living increases apply to the frozen minimum PIA used to determine survivor benefits in December of any year in which your child(ren), your surviving spouse caring for your child(ren), or your parent(s), are entitled to survivor benefits for at least one month.

(2) Automatic cost-of-living increases apply beginning with December of the earlier of:

(i) The year in which your surviving spouse or surviving divorced spouse (as defined in §§ 404.335 and 404.336) has attained full retirement age (as defined in § 404.409) and receives at least a partial benefit, or

(ii) The year in which your surviving spouse or surviving disabled spouse becomes entitled to benefits and receives at least a partial benefit.

(3) Automatic cost-of-living increases are not applied to the frozen minimum PIA in any year in which no survivor of yours is entitled to benefits on your social security record.

[68 FR 4702, Jan. 30, 2003]