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How do gas prices affect disability benefits?

Any person who depends on Social Security disability benefits, either as part or all of their income, knows that every single dollar matters. People who collect SSDI cannot work or earn enough money to support themselves or their families and these benefits can be crucial in allowing people to lead a better life.

However, these benefits aren't necessarily going to make any person rich. Many people receive about $1,022 a month on average. With that in mind, it should make sense that every dollar can make a difference and people should understand when and if they can or should be receiving more.

For instance, in many years, the Social Security Administration approves a cost-of-living adjustment to SSDI benefits. This slight increase in payments reflects the cost of inflation and protects the purchasing power of recipients.

In 2015, for example, the SSA increased payments by 1.7 percent to keep in line with COLA increases. Unfortunately, recipients should not expect the same to happen for 2016 and reports state that the probable lack of increase stems from gas prices.

According to reports, there will likely not be a COLA increase because there is no significant increase in the cost of living. This determination is made after taking into account consumer prices for medical care, housing, transportation, food and clothing. So because the cost of things like fuel is actually down this year, reports note it would take a dramatic increase in other expenses to warrant a COLA increase.

If there is no COLA increase announced this year, it will only be the third time in 40 years when no adjustment has been made.

Understanding changes to SSDI calculations and payments can be crucial for any person who may be eligible to collect these benefits. However, because it can be difficult to keep track of all the adjustments to the system, it can be wise to discuss your options with an attorney familiar with the process of seeking and collecting maximum benefits.

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