Nearly every year, the federal government awards a cost of living adjustment (COLA) to Social Security recipients. This adjustment takes into account any inflation that has occurred in the economy. Most of the time, the cost of living adjustment will increase your disability benefit payment, because it increases with inflation.
Let’s talk first about whether a cost of living increase will affect your disability payments.
SSDI vs. SSI Benefits and COLA Increases
Depending on whether you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will determine how much money you are entitled to.
SSI benefits are calculated on need and have a maximum amount you can receive. In 2020, that amount is $783 a month for an individual or $1,175 a month for a married couple. If there is a COLA increase, that would raise the maximum amount you could receive accordingly.
SSDI benefits are calculated differently. The amount of SSDI benefits you receive are calculated by the number of credits you have. This number of credits is determined by:
- How much you paid into the Social Security system through taxes while you were working, and
- How many years you paid into the system.
This amount is different for everyone and is based on a formula the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses to calculate your benefits. The easiest way to understand how much you will receive in SSDI payments is to review your Social Security Statement. This statement will give you an estimate in how much you will receive if you are approved for benefits.
SSDI benefits are also affected by cost of living increases, but how much you receive in your benefit check will vary because each claimant gets a different amount based on their work history. If you have questions about how this works, you should speak with the SSA.
2021 Cost of Living Disability Benefits Increase
There was a cost of living increase of 1.6 percent in January of 2020. Because of the coronavirus affecting the economy in 2020, experts are torn on whether or not there will be a cost of living increase for 2021. Inflation has slowed over the past few years, and therefore so have cost of living increases.
The latest information from the SSA is that there will be a 1.3 percent COLA increase for disability payments in 2021.
If you are still trying to get disability benefits awarded, we know it can be a long and sometimes painful road. We may be able to help you get the disability benefits you deserve. Please call our office at 1-319-774-1903 to speak with an attorney today.