Advisers and clients groaned when they learned the Social Security cost of living adjustments would be zero in 2016 — as they were in 2010 and 2011. But COLAs are not the only annual adjustment that can boost Social Security benefits. Some lesser-known ones can also be a boon for clients.

COLAs are based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which has changed little year over year. But other Social Security features are adjusted based on a different metric, the National Average Wage Index. This index has been growing consistently year over year.

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