The Social Security Administration announced that there will be a 5.9% increase in the monthly checks that people receive for Social Security retirement, Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beginning in January 2022. This announcement is welcome news to the many Americans who have seen their grocery bills and other expenses skyrocket during the last year.
A Texas Disability Attorney can answer your questions about the Cost-of-Living Adjustment announced for 2022 and advocate for you on your Social Security claim.
What is the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)?
Congress wrote amendments to the Social Security laws that created automatic annual COLAs starting in 1975. The legislation identified the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) as the relevant measure of annual increases. If the consumer price index increases, there is inflation, which means that the cost of buying the goods we need is higher.
Annual adjustment of Social Security payments is necessary so that inflation does not erode the value of a person’s monthly check. But for the COLA adjustments, the older a person gets, the more financially strapped they can become.
Congress enacted protection for Social Security recipients. If the consumer price index goes down in a given year, Social Security benefits do not decrease. The consumer price index can only raise the amount of Social Security checks, not lower them. In some years, it is possible for there to be no increase in the number of benefits.
The highest annual COLA adjustment since 1975 was in 1981 when Social Security checks increased 11.2%. There was no increase in benefits in 2010, 2011, and 2016.
How to Find Out the Amount That Your Benefits Will Increase
The Social Security Administration is mailing COLA notices to:
- People who receive Social Security retirement benefits
- Disability beneficiaries (SSDI and/or SSI)
- Recipients of survivors’ benefits
- Representative payees
If you do not receive the mailed notice or you have opted out of mailed notices, you can log into your Social Security account online and view your COLA notice and any other Social Security notices. You do not have to wait until you receive the paper notice in the mail. Also, it is more secure to receive notices at the Social Security website rather than by mail because things sent through the mail can get lost or stolen.
Beware of COLA Increase Scams
Con artists seem to find new ways every day to try to scam people out of their life savings. The Social Security Administration will not telephone you about the Cost-of-Living Adjustment. The SSA will not ask you to provide your Social Security number, date of birth, bank account information, address, or any other information.
Also, the services of the Social Security administration are always free. If you receive an email, a letter in the mail, a phone call, or any other communication that asks you to pay any money or provide any personal information in order to receive your 2022 Cost-of-Living Adjustment increase, you should not respond. A Texas Disability Attorney can provide guidance about the 2022 COLA increase. Get in touch with our office today for legal assistance, we offer a free consultation.