As we predicted in our blog recently, the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits will increase 1.5 percent next year. The raise will affect Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
CNN reported last week that the COLA would add about $19 to monthly checks, taking the average SSI benefit to $1,294 next year. Although there is a COLA, it is a decrease from the 1.7 percent increase recipients saw in 2013.
“The small increase is due to the fact that inflation has been low. [The] Consumer Price Index, the government’s main inflation gauge, showed that overall prices were up 1.2 percent over the 12 months ending in September,” CNN reported. “A 7.5 percent dip in gas prices over that time period was a big factor keeping prices in check.”
CNN also reported that it is not clear if the adjustments really cover spending habits for the 57 million Americans who receive Social Security payments. Citing seniors who receive SSI, CNN reported, “Seniors spend more on health care than the younger population, and government figures show the cost of medical care rising twice as fast as other prices, up 2.4 percent over the past year.”
Some organizations are happy with the COLA, although they think it should be higher. “By providing protection against inflation, the COLA helps beneficiaries of all ages maintain their standard of living, keeping many from falling into poverty,” AARP executive vice president Nancy LeaMond said about the raise, according to the Associated Press. “The COLA announced today is vital to millions, but at an average of just $19 per month, it will quickly be consumed by the rising costs of basic needs like food, utilities and health care.”
Although the adjustment will be smaller in 2014, we are glad that people will see a raise. If you have questions about an application for benefits, do not hesitate to contact our Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers for a free evaluation of your case. You may also reach us by phone at (918) 265-1404.