Will I get cost-of-living increases in my Social Security Disability check?
Learn how your Social Security Disability check will increase with inflation and how the cost-of-living increases are calculated and paid.
Cost-of-Living Adjustment to Disability Benefits
Social Security law includes a provision for cost-of-living adjustments, often called COLAs, which increase the amount of your disability benefit. The purpose of the COLAs is to help your Social Security benefits keep up with inflation.
When COLAs are Payable
You will get a cost-of- living increase in your Social Security disability check if during the previous fiscal year there was an increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. If there is no increase in the Index, then there is no increase in Social Security Disability benefits. For example, Social Security announced a 1.7 percent increase in gross disability benefits for 2015 because there was a 1.7 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for the fiscal year ending September 2014. But, there was no increase in benefits in 2016 because there was no increase in the Index in the prior year. The COLA increase for 2017 was .3%. Social Security increases begin with the December benefit of the year the Index increases and are paid in January of the following year. (Supplemental Security Income [SSI] COLA increases begin with the January benefit which is paid in January. For more information about SSI disability, please visit our SSI articles.)
Finding Out If There Will Be a COLA
Whether or not there will be a cost-of-living adjustment and the amount of any increase are announced in the fourth quarter of each year. In addition to a public announcement, the Social Security Administration will send you a letter that shows the new amount of your Social Security disability check, including the cost-of-living increase, if any. For information about how your base disability benefit is calculated, see our article If I Am Approved for Disability, How Much Will My Social Security Disability Benefit Be?
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