It is tough to pay monthly bills strictly on Social Security or Social Security Disability benefits. With costs of daily goods increasing, each year it is a bit tougher. That’s the purpose of a cost of living adjustment (COLA). Unfortunately, this morning, ABC Action News reports that next year’s cost of living adjustment (COLA) will be just a 0.3 percent increase in monthly benefits. This is the fifth year in a row of historically low COLA raises.
By law, the cost of living adjustment is based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), a broad measure of consumer prices generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It measures price changes for food, housing, clothing, transportation, energy, medical care, recreation and education. The COLA is calculated using the average CPI-W for July, August and September. If prices go up, benefits go up. If prices drop or stay flat, benefits stay the same. The numbers for July and August suggest a cost of living adjustment of just 0.3 percent. The numbers for September are to be released today.
Next year’s cost of living adjustment is better than this year’s since there was no increase this year. However, according to the report, the monthly increase will be less than $4.00 a month using the average monthly Social Security payment is $1,238. This $4.00 increase may be absorbed by an increase in Medicare Part B premiums which are usually deducted from Social Security payments.
More than 60 million retirees, disabled workers, spouses and children get Social Security benefits. The COLA also affects benefits for about 4 million disabled veterans, 2.5 million federal retirees and their survivors, and more than 8 million people who get Supplemental Security Income, the disability program for the poor. Many people who get SSI also receive Social Security.
Battling to obtain Social Security Disability benefits is difficult enough. After winning that battle, learning to live on the SSD benefit continues to the battle. These small cost of living adjustments just prolongs the battles.
Attorneys Matthew Noyes and Lorrie Robinson represent those fighting to get Social Security Disability benefits. They are the authors of a book that discusses the battle ob obtain social security disability. Mr. Noyes is a named partner at the Tampa Bay law firm of Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or complete the form on this page or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.