The incredible events of the last few years have been particularly burdensome and even dangerous for many of those who depend on Social Security. Pandemics, housing shortages, prescription drug costs and other factors have continued to put pressure on households dependent on fixed incomes.
Now, a significant 5.9% cost of living adjustment (COLA) aims to offset some of that pressure, and replace the buying power recipients have been steadily losing in the last few years.
Who Gets the COLA Increase and When Does It Start?
The increase applies to all Social Security checks, including Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income, which affects more than 70 million people. About 64 million Social Security recipients will begin to receive the increase in January 2022. Another 8 million SSI recipients will begin to see the increase on December 20, 2021.
How Much Will My Social Security Check Actually Change?
The real change in recipients’ checks is going to depend on a number of factors. While the COLA is set to 5.9%, there are other variables in determining the net of each beneficiary. Medicare Part B costs, which are automatically deducted from Social Security checks, may affect the final increase. That cost typically increases, so the actual net benefit to most recipients will not be the full 5.9%.
For the average retired worker, benefits checks would rise $92 to $1,657 per month, according to Social Security Administration estimates. Couples would see an average increase of $154 to $2,753 per month.
About half of seniors currently live in households where Social Security supplies at least 50% of their income. And 25% of seniors rely on the payment for nearly all their income. As costs have risen, seniors, veterans, and the disabled have watched their buying power slowly erode on fixed incomes.
How Is the COLA Computed?
The Social Security Administration ties its annual cost of living increase to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last decade, the average COLA has amounted to 1.65%, including just 1.3% in 2021 – the pandemic year.
What Should I Do if I Am Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?
As a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability law, I deal with SSA denials every day. Remember that the COLA is not something you have to fight for – it is automatically added to your benefit check. If you’re not receiving a check and believe you should, contact us. We’ll evaluate your case for free.