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Our California Disability Lawyers Can Help You Understand Your Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced that the monthly payments for SSI beneficiaries will be increasing as a result of this year’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

According to the SSA, “69 million Americans will be receiving a 1.6 percent increase in their Social Security and SSI benefits in 2020.”

What Is the COLA?

COLA, or the cost-of-living adjustment, accommodates the fluctuations in the cost of everyday goods and services. Applied every year to Social Security benefits, the COLA protects disability beneficiaries from inflation.

woman-filing-paperworkSupplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based program designed to provide financial benefits to individuals whose disabilities prevent them from earning a living. The COLA, added to Social Security benefits in 1975, is crucial to ensuring the value of these important benefits isn’t lowered. Without it, disabled Americans and their families would lack the means to pay for the ever-increasing cost of everyday essentials.

If you need help understanding how this year’s COLA will affect your SSI benefits, give The Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour a call. Our California disability lawyers know the complex laws surrounding the Social Security system and are fierce advocates for individuals living with disabilities.

How Is the COLA Calculated?

Whether the COLA increases or decreases depends on the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI is the federal government’s formal measurement of inflation. It is formed by measuring the changes in the prices of 80,000 goods and services. The SSA reviews the third quarter of the current year’s CPI and compares it to the third quarter of the previous year. If inflation has occurred, the average CPI will have risen and SS beneficiaries will receive a “raise” in their benefits as a result.

In the very rare occurrence that the CPI average decreases and we experience deflation in the cost of living, benefits will remain the same.

stethoscope-on-top-of-calculatorBased on 2019’s calculations, the average retired worker was bringing in $1,473 a month and the average disabled worker was bringing in $1,236. With a COLA increase of 1.6 percent, we should see an increase in payments to these parties by $24 and $20 a month, respectively.

The 2020 increase is significantly less than the 2.8 percent bump we saw at the start of 2019 but higher than the average we’ve been experiencing for the past decade, which is sitting at 1.4 percent.

When Will the COLA Affect Your Benefits?

On Dec. 31, the maximum federal SSI payments for an individual will rise from $771 a month to $783. The change to your benefits will happen automatically and will not require you to submit any documents or forms.

Questions About Your Disability Benefits? Call Dr. Bill!

Understanding the laws that can affect your monthly benefits, like COLA, can be overwhelming.

If you have questions about your current benefits or need help applying for SSDI/SSI, please don’t hesitate to call our office at 800-803-5090! Dr. Bill and his experienced team of California disability lawyers have years of experience helping disabled individuals in Los Angeles and across Southern California receive the benefits they need.

You can also fill out our contact form online to schedule a free case evaluation. And if your disability makes it difficult for you to leave home, we’ll come to you!