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No COLA increase in 2016 for disability benefits recipients

Every year, those who receive benefits due to their disability through the Social Security Administration wait to see if their monthly income will increase due to inflation. Back in 1975 Congress enacted something called a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, that increases the amount of benefits recipients get based on inflation.

Whether or not there is an increase depends on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W. This index takes into account the change in prices of transportation, food, health care, education, energy and recreation.

Last year, there was a 1.7-percent COLA increase, but unfortunately there will be no increase this year. A big part of the reason has to do with the drop of gas prices. While that makes sense for working individuals, senior advocate groups say it doesn’t make sense for seniors who drive less but often spend a lot more on medical costs. The government claims the index fell by 0.4 percent during the time that they calculate the COLA increase.

In 2015, disabled beneficiaries got an average of $1,165 monthly. This year is not the only year that saw no COLA increase. In fact, there was no COLA increase in 2010 and again in 2011. Some people feel the government needs a new way of calculating COLA changes that is fairer to those that are elderly or disabled.

Social Security disability benefits are very crucial to those that cannot work due to their total disability. Without these benefits, they may not be able to pay their bills or have a roof over their heads.

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