Is the 2022 Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment Enough? 

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2022 | Social Security Disability |

If you receive Social Security, you’ve probably already noticed a bump in your checks.

In October, the Social Security Administration announced its largest increase in the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) since 1982, with a 5.9% COLA adjustment to monthly retirement checks and Social Security Income (SSI) checks. Increases in the past two years have hovered between 1 and 3%.

What is the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA)?

In 1975, the Social Security Administration started making annual adjustments for the cost of living. The purpose of the adjustments is to ensure that inflation doesn’t hurt the purchasing power of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits.

The annual adjustments are tied to the annual increase in the nation’s Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. If there isn’t an increase in the index, there’s no need for a COLA.

The largest COLA increase in 40 years reflects the significant increases in the prices of goods and services over the past year, including higher energy and food costs. Costs have increased by 6% in many sectors. And many experts warn that inflation will continue to rise, which means that even this large increase may not cover rising household bills.

Social Security retirement increases 

The average monthly SSI payment in 2022 will be $841 for an individual, up $47 from 2021, and $1,261 for a couple, up $70. The average retirement check will rise by $92, to $1,657 a month.

Check in the message section of your My Social Security account to determine your COLA increase.

Social Security disability claimants

The Social Security Administration estimates that about 8 million individuals claim disability benefits. The average Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) check will go up by $76, from $1,282 to $1,358 a month. Married disabled workers with children will see an increase of $133, from $2,250 to $2,383 a month.

Medicare Part B

The benefit increase will also be offset by the standard cost for Medicare Part B, which is jumping 14.5% per month in 2022, by about $22 more a month. This is the largest increase in the history of the insurance program.

Working while receiving Social Security

SSDI and SSI applicants must earn less than $1,350 per month to qualify for benefits. (Blind individuals can earn up to $2,260 per month.) There are complicated rules governing what income is counted and what income isn’t, so it’s a good idea to check with an experienced attorney if you have questions in this area.

Here at Hunter & Everage, we can help answer your questions about your disability income and about applying for disability benefits. We have experienced lawyers in Richmond, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina who are ready to help you.

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