On October 15, 2015, the Social Security Administration issued a Press Release advising the public that there will be no Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase for 2016. A cost of living adjustment is calculated based on the rate of inflation and provides for an increase in the amount of money a Social Security annuitant receives.
For the past three years (2013, 2014, & 2015), the SSA has increased the amount of money it pays in Social Security benefits based on the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). However, benefits received by Social Security annuitants, including Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, will remain unchanged in 2016.
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For those who fear that this may be the start of a ‘trend’, rest assured that it probably is not. There was no increase in the COLA for the years 2010 & 2011.
No increase in the benefit amount received simply means that SSD and SSI annuitants will continue to receive the same amount for their payment, subject to any adjustments that the SSA may make on an individual’s claim for a variety of reasons, including changes in ability to work for SSD/SSI recipients or changes in resources of SSI recipients.
Your Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income Benefit Amount
The amount that a SSD or SSI annuitant receives monthly for disability is referred to as a benefit amount. Once an applicant is found disabled under SSA’s rules, the annuitant will receive a monthly benefit. The benefit amount differs for each individual.
For applicants who have sufficient work credits and are eligible for SSD, then the benefit amount is based on a calculation using past earnings. You may access an estimate of your benefit by signing up for a ‘my Social Security’ online account and viewing your Statement of Benefits, or by contacting the Social Security Agency directly at 1-800-772-1213.
The maximum amount of money that an annuitant can receive for SSD is $2,663/monthly (for 2015).
For SSI applicants, the calculation basis for benefits is a bit trickier. SSA looks at an individual’s particular circumstance including living arrangements, any income or money received, and resources/assets of the applicant. According to the SSA, “The monthly maximum federal amounts for 2016 are $733 for an eligible individual and $1,100 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse.” SSA will take into consideration a number of factors, as explained above, in finding whether the SSI annuitant should receive the maximum allowable benefit for SSI or if it should be reduced for monthly countable income.
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How Our Disability Attorneys Can Help
At Andalman & Flynn, our experienced disability attorneys provide legal representation to those in need of Social Security Disability, as well as other disability insurance and retirement benefits. If we can assist you in applying for disability benefits, please call us at (301) 244-4525 or toll-free at (888) 558-7871. You can also complete an online contact form through our website and one of our disability attorneys will contact you for a consultation concerning your situation.