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Legal Knowledge, Human Wisdom

On Understanding the Cost-of-Living Adjustment

General Article

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced cost-of-living increase for people receiving social security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Individuals receiving money from one or both programs will receive an increase of 2.8 percent starting next year. It’s important to note that those receiving SSI benefits will receive an increase. This is the largest increase since 2012. The Social Security Act tethers the annual cost-of-living increase with the increase in the Consumer Price Index. The Consumer Price Index is determined by another federal agency. That agency is called the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Thus, when there is an increase in average wages for workers, retirees and SSI recipients receive an increase too. It’s important to note that the maximum amount of earning that is taxed by Social Security also increase. In 2019, the taxable maximum will increase from $128,400 to $132,900. It’s important to explain that changes to Medicare will also occur next year. This means that those receiving Medicare will have to wait until Medicare premium are announced the next year to find out if they will enjoy the increase. If the Medicare premium for each month increases, this could wipe out the benefit increase for those receiving social security or SSI.

Why? Because the extra $36 in a retiree’s paycheck may be used to pay the Medicare premium. Those who are not paying for Medicare will be able to enjoy the extra money on their check each month. If Medicare premium for next year does not increase or increases a fraction, retirees will have something to celebrate. The new premium for Medicare won’t be announced until later this year. Those receiving SSI and/or retirement benefits will stop receive information about both increases in the mail.

Getting Social Security and/or SSI Benefits in Tennessee

Tennesseans who apply for either social security and/or SSI benefits often know they are entitled to obtain those benefits. However, many people are denied benefits they should receive them. An initial denial will often occur early in the application process. This can cause the appeals process for a disability claim to last up to two years. Contacting a social security attorney kingsport tn will often help decrease the chances of receiving a denial and/or appeals process.

The first stage of an SSI disability claim is called a Request for Reconsideration. The SSA may still deny the claim. The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is another agency that hears disability claims that are denied. The Kingsport ODAR offices hear denials from applicants in Kingsport, Morristown and Johnson City. It takes about two years for denied applicants to receive a hearing.

Contact a Social Security and SSI Attorney about Assistance with Obtaining Benefits

A social security attorney will assist an individual in completing and filing their SSA application. They will also determine the best course to fight an appeal. Thus, to receive the benefit increase, a person seeking benefits should have the help of an attorney.