October 18, 2016

Social Security Disability, Veterans Disability Beneficiaries To Receive 0.3% COLA In 2017

Allsup explains importance of cost of living adjustment, offers web event on finances for people with disabilities Oct. 20

Belleville, Illinois — Oct. 18, 2016 — Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients and veterans disability beneficiaries will receive a slight increase of 0.3% in their monthly benefit in 2017, according to Allsup, a nationwide provider of SSDI, veterans disability appeal and Medicare plan selection services. The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) announcement comes as Allsup offers its free nationwide web event and Q&A this Thursday, Oct. 20, at noon CST. The discussion will cover finances for people with chronic illness and disabilities.

“Last year there was no COLA increase, so this is better news for disability beneficiaries,” said Tricia Blazier, Allsup personal health and financial planning director. The Social Security Administration (SSA) used third-quarter results reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) to set the COLA. The increase takes effect in January 2017 for SSDI recipients.

“But a COLA increase of just 0.3% is pretty meager, especially if you expect to pay more for things like healthcare, housing or groceries next year,” Blazier said. “Already, the USDA is forecasting supermarket costs will go up 1 to 2% next year.”

The average SSDI benefit will increase to $1,171 from $1,167, an increase of just $4 per month, or $48 per year. In addition, the threshold for substantial gainful activity (SGA) will increase to $1,170 per month from $1,130 per month for non-blind individuals, and to $1,950 per month and $1,820 per month for blind individuals.

“SGA is important because it provides the earnings amount Social Security looks at to determine if someone may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits,” Blazier explained.

Individuals must have earnings below SGA in order to get SSDI benefits. With empower by Allsup®, people can find out in a few minutes if they are likely to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. They can also begin their SSDI application with Allsup as their representative. Get started with empower and take a Free SSDI Assessment.

Automatic COLA increases have been applied to Social Security benefits since 1975. But in the most recent decade, there was no COLA for benefits received in 2010, 2011 and 2016. COLA increases are applied to veterans disability compensation and pension benefits, Social Security retirement, Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Social Security disability benefits provide vital income to people who experience a work-disrupting disability.

Medicare Premiums in 2017

It’s likely that Medicare beneficiaries will see their COLA go toward higher Medicare Part B premiums in 2017. Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that premiums are likely to increase in 2017. Typically, the COLA is factored into how costs change from year to year for the 57 million Medicare beneficiaries.

Timing is important, with Medicare open enrollment underway now through Dec. 7. Participants have the opportunity to review coverage options in their area including Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans. In 2016, for example, participants could choose from an average of 19 Medicare Advantage plans, 26 Part D plans and 16 Medicare Advantage-Part D plans, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Medicare open enrollment help is available at Allsup Medicare Advisor or by calling (866) 521-7655.

Click To Attend Oct. 20 Web Event – Improve Your Finances

Three national disability groups and Allsup are bringing a True Help Web Event, “Claiming Power to Improve Your Finances,” to people with chronic illness and disabilities and their caregivers Thursday, Oct. 20, at noon CST.

The program features the National Stroke Association, the Caregiver Action Network, the Colon Cancer Alliance and Allsup.

Written by

Rebecca Ray