cost of living adjustments bookIn 2019, Social Security Disability (SSD), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Retirement recipients will see an increase in their monthly payments.

Since there was an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) from the third quarter of 2017 to the third quarter of 2018, Social Security payments will be increased. This is also known as a Cost-of-Living Adjustment or a COLA. Beneficiaries of these benefits will receive a 2.8% COLA in 2018.

The reason for a COLA, is to make sure the recipients of these benefits are not affected by inflation.  The Social Security Administration determines the COLA by using the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).  If there is no increase there will not be a COLA that year.

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For individuals who are applying for SSD or SSI, there are important changes to SGA in 2019 as well.  If you plan to work while applying for these benefits you may come across the word Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).  This is when someone is working, while applying for benefits, Social Security sets a limit on not how much you can work, but on how much you can earn. In 2018, the monthly gross amount an individual could make was $1,180.00.  In 2019, the amount will go up to $1,220.00 gross per month.

Although a COLA means recipient’s monthly payments will increase, it also means the cost of living has also increased.  This means prices for goods and services have increased enough to affect change in the cost of living.

Recipients of these benefits will be notified in December of 2018 of the changes to their benefits. You can fund this information in the message center of you my Social Security Account.  Letters will also be sent. 

If you have applied for SSD or SSI benefits or are considering applying and have questions, contact the attorneys at Berger and Green today at 412-661-1400 for a free no obligation consultation.

Source: Social Security Administration, “Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Information for 2019”

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