Published On: Fri, Nov 18th, 2016

Social Security Set to Rise Slightly for 2017

More than 60 million Americans will see their Social Security benefits increase in the year 2017. Unfortunately, benefits will not increase by very much.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced that the annual bump in Social Security retirement benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will be 0.3 percent. The reason for this increase is not a change in the law to allow additional benefits for recipients. Instead, it will occur because of annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) that are applied by statute every year. The purpose of this adjustment is to account for price inflation in common living expenses.

How Is the Cost-of-Living Adjustment Determined?

The Social Security Act includes a set formula to calculate annual adjustments. The formula uses detailed data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Specifically, the formula is based around the monthly changes in the Consumer Price Index for wage earners (CPI-W).

The CPI reviews prices and transactions around the country and looks for changes. Not every product is included in the CPI. Instead, the CPI only looks at a select basket of “common goods and services.” Among the things included in the basket of goods are:

  • Common food products
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Medical care
  • Consumables such as clothing and toys

The CPI combines the cost changes of all of those items together to figure out just how much more expensive it is to live in America each year. Then, proportional adjustments are made to Social Security retirement and disability benefits. Usually, this means that benefits will go up, though in some years that does not occur.

photo/ Public domain pictures via Pixabay

photo/ Public domain pictures via Pixabay

What Does This Mean for Your Social Security Disability Benefits?

Social Security disability benefits will see a 0.3 increase beginning in January 2017. Technically, the new rate will be paid for benefits that are accrued beginning December 2016, as those are the benefits for which recipients will receive a check in January 2017.

This means that the maximum monthly SSI benefits for individuals is now $735, up from $733. Of course, many states also provide recipients with additional supplemental benefits. Some of those benefits may be adjusted for inflation as well.

What to Do If Your Social Security Disability Claim Is Denied

Cost-of-living increases only help those who are actually able to qualify for benefits. Sadly, many disabled workers throughout our country should be entitled to disability benefits but are simply not receiving them.

The Social Security Administration even admits this disturbing fact in their own publicly available data. The SSA data shows that as many as 29 percent of valid disability claims are incorrectly denied after their initial review.

In other words, if your disability claim was denied, do not give up. You are not necessarily out of luck. However, it must be noted that there are strict time limits involved with filing a Social Security disability appeal. You need to get your case into the hands of an experienced Social Security disability lawyer as soon as possible.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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